I’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.”
A couple of items.
More than a dozen employees in high-level positions at the Department of Veterans Affairs have recently been reassigned to lower-level positions — and a new report says it’s part of a purge by President Donald Trump’s loyalists.
According to the Washington Post, acting VA Secretary Peter O’Rourke and a small team of Trump political appointees are reshuffling staffers they perceive to be disloyal to Trump and his agenda for the VA, which is responsible for providing health care and other federal benefits to US military veterans.
Last year, the Trump administration insisted that its regressive tax cuts were so important, it was worth adding $1.5 trillion to the national debt to ensure their passage. Now, the White House is warning Congress that the United States cannot afford to add $1.6 billion to the deficit to expand health-care options for veterans.
In a letter (July 16), the Trump administration demanded that lawmakers fund a popular veterans’ health-care program — which allows former troops to spend public funds on private doctors and hospitals — with cuts to other parts of the budget. Democrats, and some top Senate Republicans, prefer to raise the current caps on discretionary spending instead.
(New York Magazine)
I’m pretty sure that the program referenced is the one that lets vets who live far from any VA hospitals to get VA-funded care locally instead.
Comment below fold.
One 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.
Hegseth 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.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has always used veterans as props at her campaign events while simultaneously stabbing them in the back with votes to cut funding to their programs and benefits. Now that she’s a presidential candidate, she’s promising to defend veteran’s benefits. Either she’s lying or this is a flip flop from her previous voting record.
But now that she’s running for president, Bachmann is billing herself as a great defender of veterans benefits. The Washington Independent reports that during a speech at the annual convention of the American Legion in Minneapolis last Thursday, Bachmann vowed to support and strengthen veterans medical care:
“It is our duty, first and primarily, to protect our veterans and to make sure that you receive not only the respect, but also the care that you have paid for very heavily with your service to our nation,” Bachmann told members of the American Legion Thursday.
- “As president, I will assure that those who serve today as well, and in the past, have the highest access to the best care, both of health, mental health and rehabilitative care that the world has to offer.”
But Bachmann’s January plan, which was touted as a way to avoid raising the debt ceiling, would have brought about dramatic cuts to veterans services.
Bachmann’s plan would have frozen the Veterans Affairs Department’s health care spending and reduced the amount veterans receive in Social Security Disability Income. The congresswoman offered no explanation for her sharp reversal on the issue, but it’s hard to interpret her promise to strengthen veterans benefits nine months after trying to cut them as anything other than empty pandering to an important political constituency.
Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) campaigned on Tea Party principles like small government, free markets and, especially, repealing health care reform. Of course, Cravaack didn’t really believe in his principles strongly enough to forego his government health care that all Congresscritters get. No, he signed up.
And he should know full well about socialized medicine — he’s a vet.
All veterans can go to the government-owned Veteran’s Administration clinics and hospitals across the country and get whatever ails them treated by government-paid MDs and RNs. The highly qualified professionals take quite good care of their patients here in MN from what I gather.
BTW, he’s also quite familiar with the benefits of being in a union. He’s a retired pilot. He spent a number of years on disability because of sleep apnea … all because his pilot’s union fought for his rights.
It was a distant hope just a year ago. Cravaack was living the quiet life of a medically retired Northwest Airlines pilot, grounded at 48 with sleep apnea. “I can’t even fly a kite,” he said with the gallows humor of an airman who once taught formation flying and aerial acrobatics.
So when Cravaack talks about how awful socialized medicine is and how evil unions are, he’s lying.