As a U.S.M.C. veteran, the presidential pick for the Secretary of Veteran Affairs is very important to me. Especially since I have seen the V.A. literally fall apart in front of me! Just this last summer I tried to be seen at the Poplar Bluff, MO V.A. for a ‘pinched nerve’ . Not only was the long drive an issue but I waited an unbearable four hours, only to go to the emergency room to find out there was only one doctor! With eight more in front of me, needless to say I left, unseen.
So one can imagine how excited I was to learn of Trumps plan to ‘overhaul’ and ‘drain’ the system with his ‘Veterans Affairs Reform‘ program. Of his ten-point program, I was most excited about the tenth option:
“Ensure every veteran has the choice to seek care at the VA or at a private service provider of their own choice. Under a Trump Administration, no veteran will die waiting for service.”
However now we are learning of his plan to appoint, the Obama administration, current under-secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), to be the next secretary of the VA, Dr. David Shulkin.
My hope was that President-elect Trump would choose a veteran for this critical position. As the Hill notes:
“First, David Shulkin is not a veteran. Though there is no requirement that the Secretary of VA must be one, Shulkin would be the first non-veteran to serve as Secretary.
Second, as Under Secretary for Health, Shulkin has been the head of VHA since July of 2015. This essentially means that Trump, while touting that veterans will be a top priority and that VHA is so broken it should be privatized, picks the man who has been ultimately responsible for the success or failure of VHA for the last year and half to lead all of VA.”
This is very concerning as I, as a veteran, have put off the refiling of my service-connected disability waiting for a new V.A. Administration that would “put veterans first”. And now that I am older and my disability worsens, I will have no choice but to file under this administration. I am hoping that our President-elect is not like a Nancy Pelosi moment “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it” and there is a method to this madness.