Will there be ‘swamp draining’ at the VA?
The president-elect has repeatedly blasted the scandal-plagued VA, and he surprised political observers when announcing that David Shulkin is his choice to lead the agency.
Shulkin, 57, is currently the Under Secretary of Health for the VA.
The Washington Post reported that Shulkin, a physician who oversaw private hospitals, “has led the sprawling veterans health system — the country’s largest, with 1,700 clinics and hospitals — for 18 months, working to improve patients’ access to care after a nationwide scandal over fudged wait lists for medical appointments.”
Shulkin was chosen after more than 100 people were interviewed for the position.
Bob Maginnis, a senior fellow for national security at the Family Research Council, says he was surprised that an insider was chose to lead the VA.
The argument can be made, he says, that the Trump administration understands it has promised to “drain the swamp” in the nation’s capital, and it wouldn’t jeopardize that promise at the VA.
“And so my proclivity,” says Maginnis, “is to give the Trump people the benefit of the doubt.”
Maginnis, a retired U.S. Army colonel, says the VA system needs “flexibility” and alternatives to better serve veterans.
“I’m not big into having buildings all over the country that are unresponsive to the needs of the veterans,” says the Army veteran. “So we need to provide those veterans some choice if in fact they can find good medical care in local hospitals with local doctor’s offices. Let’s arrange for them to do that.”