Sanders Warns Against VA Privatization After Trump Tweets Shulkin's Ouster

Sanders Warns Against VA Privatization After Trump Tweets Shulkin's Ouster

Sanders Warns Against VA Privatization After Trump Tweets Shulkin's Ouster

Jackson will replace David Shulkin who has long faced criticism after controversy over his taxpayer-funded travel on a trip to Europe, during which he accepted tickets to the Wimbledon tennis championships. Robert Wilkie of DOD will serve as Acting Secretary.

Jackson gave Trump a clean bill of health early this year after giving the president a physical and put him on a diet to lose some weight.

Trump tweets that he intends to nominate "highly respected Admiral Ronny L. Jackson, MD, as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs".

"I am thankful for Dr. David Shulkin's service to our country and to our GREAT VETERANS!"Trump wrote".

Shulkin, 58, led the Veterans Health Administration for two years under Obama, and was confirmed as Trump's nominee to head the VA on a 99-0 Senate vote. He's also the only Obama administration holdover - Shulkin served as the VA's under secretary for health from 2015 to 2017 - to serve in the current Cabinet. In a December email obtained by The Washington Post, senior VA appointees Jake Leinenkugel and Camilo J. Sandoval openly discussed ousting Shulkin, his chief of staff and his deputy because Shulkin was not aggressively pushing an increased use of private care for veterans.

But the former hospital executive was considered too moderate for some on Team Trump, having said he would not privatize VA, though he did work to expand opportunities for veterans in private sector care.

Shulkin's firing had been expected for weeks as the president, who once considered him a favorite grew disenchanted with him after a travel scandal and months of infighting within the senior ranks at the Department of Veterans Affairs spilled into public view.

The department provides medical care and other benefits to 9 million military veterans in more than 1,700 health facilities around the U.S.

Shulkin made it roughly 13 months in Trump's Cabinet. It led to embarrassing headlines that irritated top White House officials and the president, who began to search for a replacement.

But Shulkin was making enemies among the administration's other political appointees, especially those with connections to Concerned Veterans for America, a lobbying group linked to the conservative Koch brothers. As recently as Monday, one White House aide declined to discuss Shulkin's future while another told Fox News that the president had confidence in him "at this point in time". Several projects remain unfinished, including a multibillion-dollar overhaul of electronic medical records aimed at speeding up wait times for veterans seeking medical care as well as expanded mental health treatment for veterans at higher risk of suicide.

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