Trump dismisses David Shulkin as veterans' affairs secretary

Donald J. Trump on Twitter:

Warnings of Koch Brothers Influence After Shulkin Says VA Privatization Advocates Forced Him Out

He specifically blamed his opposition to privatizing health care at the VA for his ouster, saying "some political appointees" within the administration are "choosing to promote their agendas instead of what's best for veterans". "I think that it's essential for national security and for the country that we honor our commitment by having a strong VA".

According to Jackson's Navy biography, "Since arriving at the White House, he has directed the Executive Health Care for the President's Cabinet and Senior Staff, served as physician supervisor for the Camp David Presidential Retreat, held the position of physician to the White House and led the White House Medical Unit as its director".

Shulkin also has been viewed as an obstacle to the expansion of government-subsidized private health care for veterans, one of the Trump administration's key policy priorities. He cited major achievements, including a new G.I. Bill, reducing wait times, processing more disability claims, improved mental health services, and a 24 percent increase in trust with the VA's services among veterans compared to four years ago.

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.

Due to this, a veterans group voiced concerns over the Trump's decision to nominate Jackson to run the department.

He was tapped to be a physician for the White House during President George W. Bush's tenure in 2006, while Jackson was deployed in Iraq, according to his Navy biography. To add "relevant context", the IG said days before the trip, Shulkin signed a memo to all VA staff directing that managers allow only "essential" employee travel to save on travel dollars.

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While Shulkin had recently come under fire, he was universally applauded when it came to efforts to modernize the agency's IT infrastructure, which was a top priority under his leadership.

In a statement, Trump said he "appreciates" the "great things" that Shulkin did for veterans. Until Jackson is confirmed by the Senate, Trump said, Robert Wilkie of the Department of Defense will serve as acting secretary of the VA.

VA is now working to build a contract with Cerner that encourages the use of application programming interfaces (APIs) and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standards to enable interoperability with the private sector.

Read Also: Former Playboy model Karen McDougal says Donald Trump was "charming" during their long affair AMVETS Executive Director Joe Chenelly questioned whether Jackson, who has no experience in management, is qualified to run a $200 billion a year bureaucracy, the second largest agency in the U.S. government. "The administration needs to be ready to prove that he's qualified to run such a massive agency, a $200 billion bureaucracy".

"I am deeply concerned about the nominee". President Trump and his administration have initiated several programs throughout the VA, meant to shake up the notoriously problematic system charged with caring for our nation's veterans.

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