Shulkin book says Trump mulled order to close parts of VA health system

“Eager for changes at the Department of Veterans Affairs, President Donald Trump toyed early on with issuing an executive order to close parts of the VA health system without consulting Congress, according to an upcoming book by his former VA secretary.”

“In the book, obtained by The Associated Press, David Shulkin describes a March 6, 2017, conversation in the Oval Office where Trump explored ways his administration could act quickly to shutter government-run VA medical centers that he viewed as poorly performing.”

“Trump was fresh off his 2016 campaign in which privatizing VA had become a political hot button after he pledged to steer more veterans to private-sector doctors outside the VA. He had said the VA was the ‘the most corrupt’ and ‘probably the most incompetently run’ Cabinet department. Democrats and major veterans’ groups oppose ‘privatization’ and say VA facilities are best-suited to treat battlefield injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder.”

“At the meeting, Trump asked whether ‘we should begin to close the VAs,’ according to the book. Legislation prohibited that, so Shulkin responded that the VA was working with Congress to set up a system-wide review to address underperforming facilities, whether by fixing or closing…”

“He said the expansion of the Veterans Choice program under his successor, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, has put the agency at risk ‘as never before.’ Shulkin cited political forces inside and outside the administration that are more interested in putting ‘companies with profits’ over the care of veterans, and suggested that only new leadership — at the department, probably at the White House, too — could save VA…” Read the full article here.

Source: Book: Trump mulled order to close parts of VA health system – By Hope Yen, October 16, 2019. Federal News Network.

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