Trump nominates his doctor to run VA after firing Shulkin

Trump nominates his doctor to run VA after firing Shulkin

Trump nominates his doctor to run VA after firing Shulkin

Donald Trump has announced that he will replace Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin with Ronny Jackson, who now serves as physician to the US President, the media reported.

David Shulkin, the fired Veterans Affairs secretary, took a parting shot in The New York Times on Thursday, blasting the "toxic" environment in the federal government and warning against privatization of the agency. Following Trump's announcement, Phil Roe, a Tennessee Republican who chairs the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, praised Shulkin for a "fantastic job", adding: "I hate to see him go". "In the interim, Hon". Department of Defense (DoD) Undersecretary Robert Wilkie will be the Acting VA Secretary in Shulkin's absence. "I was not against reforming VA, but I was against privatization", Mr. Shulkin said on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition".

Shulkin's ouster follow's Trump's firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on March 13, replacing him with Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo, and Trump's decision to replace his national security adviser, HR McMaster, with former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.

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As secretary, Shulkin was forced to accept White House picks for key VA staff positions.

The issue of privatising VA has been a political hot button since the 2016 campaign, when Mr Trump pledged to aggressively expand veterans' access to private doctors outside the government-run VA system at taxpayers' expense in the wake of a 2014 scandal at the Phoenix VA medical centre in which some veterans died while waiting months for medical appointments. Since then, a series of inspector general reports only turned up the heat on Shulkin, revealing damning management characteristics during his time as head of the Veterans Health Administration during the Obama administration.

Disabled American Veterans said the departing secretary made "tremendous strides in areas such as appeals modernization, mental health care access and department-wide oversight and accountability" while steering "VA toward sensible, lasting transformation of veterans' health care".

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However, others point to the fact that there will now be a member of the United States military, with substantial experience, running the Department of Veterans Affairs. "The Cerner Corporation has been extraordinary in working with us to respond to that".

However, Shulkin's abrupt departure from the VA introduces an element of uncertainty into ongoing contract negotiations with Cerner, given his hands-on approach to the EHR modernization program. Jackson appeared in January of this year at the White House press briefing to provide an update on President Trump's health. "The administration needs to be ready to prove that he's qualified to run such a massive agency, a $200 billion bureaucracy".

In the lead up to Shulkin's ouster, reports indicated that Trump was strongly favoring replacing him with Fox & Friends host Pete Hegseth who advocated forcefully in conversations with the president to privatize the VA health care system. "And any lack of clarity at the VA about its direction and leadership stymies the hard-fought progress that's been made so far".

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