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VA privatization

trump15I’m quoting and linking the original report. Per a search I did this morning, it is being widely disseminated, even throughout corporate media, which is good.

(Bruce) Moskowitz is a Palm Beach doctor who helps wealthy people obtain high-service “concierge” medical care.
More to the point, he is one-third of an informal council that is exerting sweeping influence on the VA from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida. The troika is led by Ike Perlmutter, the reclusive chairman of Marvel Entertainment, who is a longtime acquaintance of President Trump’s. The third member is a lawyer named Marc Sherman. None of them has ever served in the U.S. military or government.
Yet from a thousand miles away, they have leaned on VA officials and steered policies affecting millions of Americans. They have remained hidden except to a few VA insiders, who have come to call them “the Mar-a-Lago Crowd.”


veterans3Is he consciously telling the whole truth and nothing but? Does it matter, if he‘s pretty much just a puppet anyway? Per the article, some remain skeptical, and I don’t blame them.

Democratic senators who have met with White House physician Ronny Jackson, the President’s pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, have made clear that privatization of veterans’ medical care is a red line for them.
If Jackson, a rear admiral in the Navy, supports privatization, they won’t back his nomination. So far, they say, Jackson has signaled emphatically that he doesn’t support it.

Update: Proverbial skeletons in the closet have become manifest, and Jackson’s nomination appears to be in big trouble. And Trump isn’t handling it well.


veterans2The bastards are not going to give up.

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has long been the subject of aggressive privatization efforts. However, veteran organizers say the fate of the program, drowning in fresh scandals under embattled Veteran Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin, has never been in more danger than it is now.
The efforts to outsource veterans care are waged by the Koch brothers and their front group Concerned Veterans for America (CVA), among other advocates of privatization. The group held a press conference to discuss its privatization efforts — which they like to call “choice” — on Friday in DC. Should they succeed in their goals, it will have consequences not only for veterans, but also for the broader movement for a public system like Medicare for All. The VHA is the only truly public, fully integrated health system in the US. The attacks against it aim to undermine public support for government-run care.

A name that is popping up a lot, to take over and then deliberately wreck the VA, is that of prominent Fox News idiot Pete Hegseth. He’s from Minnesota, and ran for US Senate here in 2012, but lost the Republican endorsement to Kurt Bills. Who Sen. Amy Klobuchar then wiped out by about 30.
Hegseth has been described as “like a FOX funded throbbing hemorrhoid causing undue pain on the body politic.” He was considered for the job last year, but ferociously righteous opposition from veterans groups torpedoed it that time. So we’ll see.


veteransOne one hand the Trump budget calls for a big boost in the Veterans Administration budget, which is a rare bit of positive news from that for the most part extremist wish-list. On another:

But others in the administration want a much more drastic change: They seek to privatize vets’ health care. From perches in Congress, the White House and the VA itself, they have battled (VA secretary David) Shulkin. In some instances, his own subordinates have openly defied him.
Multiple publications have explored the turmoil and conflict at the VA in the wake of the inspector general report. Yet a closer examination shows the roots of the fight stretch back to the presidential campaign and reveals how far the entropy of the Trump administration has spread. Much has been written on the “chaos presidency.” Every day seems to bring exposés of White House backstabbing and blood feuds. The fight over the VA shows not only that this problem afflicts federal agencies, too, but that friction and contradiction were inevitable: Trump appointed a VA secretary who wants to preserve the fundamental structure of government-provided health care; the president also installed a handful of senior aides who are committed to a dramatically different philosophy.

There was a report yesterday that one of Shulkin’s top staffers tried to get him fired.


Trump looks to screw veterans

by Dan Burns on June 8, 2017 · 2 comments

veteransMuch has been made of the fact that the Trump budget proposes an overall increase in Veterans Administration funding. What’s not emphasized enough is that much of that added money is for starting to turn VA health care over to the greedheads via privatization. Here’s a reality check, from a source that can hardly be termed “left-wing.”

The plan to cut financial support for aging and disabled veterans included in President Donald Trump’s $1.1 trillion federal budget proposal has led to bitterness and confusion among the estimated 225,000 vets who could lose the payments.
The reductions may also trigger a political backlash against the president, who made reforming and increasing support for the Department of Veterans Affairs a major part of his campaign against Hillary Clinton…
The comments came from a flurry of emails from veterans and spouses to in response to a story last week about the proposal in the White House budget plan to cut the Individual Unemployability (IU) benefit in part to pay for an expansion of the Choice program, which allows veterans to seek health care in the private sector.
Veterans service organizations have also been flooded with calls and emails voicing concerns about the budget proposals and potential cuts to IU benefits.

Comments below fold.


Just, no. Not Pete Hegseth for VA boss

by Dan Burns on December 12, 2016 · 0 comments

hegsethHegseth is known now as one of Fox “News’s” stable of obnoxious, vainglorious half-wits, but in fact he has a Minnesota connection. He ran for the GOP nomination in the state for U.S. Senate in 2012, and lost. I’ll let VoteVets take it from here.

Pete Hegseth has been pushing a plan to slowly kill off the VA through privatization; casting veterans into the cold, to deal with the private, for-profit system with vouchers. That plan is opposed by strong majorities of veterans, in scientific polling, and by the major Veterans Service Organizations. He was such a disastrous head of Concerned Veterans for America, that the Kochs let him go and replaced him. Someone who isn’t good enough for even the Koch Brothers should not be in charge of helping veterans.

For his cabinet, the President-”elect” has been emphasizing not any kind of demonstrated competence at running anything, but rather ideological extremism and willingness to pucker up and kiss the noisome Trump behind at any and all times. He has also reportedly been considering former Senator and naked centerfold model Scott Brown for the VA job. And America’s biggest idiot, Sarah Palin. Great company to be in.