Shulkin slams 'toxic' Washington, speaks out against VA privatization

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The former Obama official has been replaced by the president's personal physician, Admiral Ronny Jackson, who has no qualifiable leadership experience and raised millions of eyebrows a year ago after publicly proclaiming that Trump was "in excellent health". Former Bay State U.S. Sen. and current U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa Scott Brown was said to be among those considered for the post.

He'd been held in high regard by Trump, who publicly praised him and touted a series of legislative wins regarding veterans issues. Jackson served as Trump's physician before being nominated for the VA gig.

Dr. Richard Tubb, the longest-serving White House physician and the person who trained Jackson, said in a letter read at Jackson's star-turning briefing that members of the White House medical team have been "figuratively Velcro-ed" to Trump since the day after his election and that "on January 20, 2017, Dr. Jackson became that Velcro".

Jackson, who is an active duty Navy physician, was nominated last week for a military promotion by the President.

He said he wanted to respond to the IG's report, but the White House muzzled him: "I think this was really just being used in a political context to try to make sure that I wasn't as effective as a leader moving forward". "Thank you, Dr. David Shulkin, for your dedication and service to helping our veterans", Vice President Mike Pence tweeted out.

"I am deeply concerned about the nominee".

Mr Shulkin had continued to insist he had the full confidence of the White House amid continuing investigations over his travel and leadership of the department. But veteran affairs groups, which exert an unusual degree of influence in Washington, DC, supported Mr Shulkin because they considered him a bulwark against the creeping privatisation of veterans' health-care services (which are now operated through a single purchaser which owns its own facilities and employs its own doctors).

Donald J. Trump on Twitter:
Trump pushes out Shulkin at VA, nominates Jackson as replacement

Meanwhile, a Monday IG report showed that a VA subagency Shulkin previously ran didn't conduct background checks on thousands of medical personnel and didn't review more than 10,000 completed investigations within the required 90 days. Much of the conflict within the VA has been over the degree of privatisation of veterans' health care.

President Donald Trump on Thursday made his first public comments on his decision to oust David Shulkin, the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, saying that he did so because he "wasn't happy" with the speed of veteran care. His plan remains in limbo in Congress after lawmakers declined last week to include it in a spending bill.

The tension mounted when Shulkin made claims to the media that he'd been given authority to fire misbehaving VA employees.

The veterans advocacy group VoteVets also raised concerns. But it also seems pointless to side against Shulkin in a clash over VA privatization unless you're actually going to push privatization. Until the Senate votes on Jackson's nomination, he will be temporarily replaced by his number two in the Department of Veterans, Robert Wilkie.

We have expanded access to health care by reducing wait times, increasing productivity and working more closely with the private sector.

Hegseth has called for a veterans healthcare system with less government presence and more private-sector involvement.

A former Army general and Vietnam veteran, Peake served as President George W. Bush's third VA secretary.

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