Why Shulkin Had to Go

Don’t be one of those Republicans who fear that there is chaos in the White House because people get fired.

If you like accountability, firing is a good thing.

For instance, the latest victim, VA secretary David Shulkin.

Fixing the VA was one of Trump’s big campaign promises. But under Shulkin, not much has been moving.

Trump had suggested vets should be able to go to any hospital they like for the quickest, best care. Evidently Shulkin didn’t agree.

Politico says,

From a policy perspective, the fight centered around two versions of a bill to give veterans greater access to private health care. A bill championed by Sen. Jerry Moran and supported by the Koch-backed group would allow veterans to choose care as they please outside of the VA system, which critics say amounts to privatizing the VA system while taxpayers foot the bill.

Shulkin, with the support of veterans groups like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, supported a bipartisan bill that gave VA physicians the ultimate control over when veterans could go out of the system. Neither bill was included in the fiscal year 2018 omnibus budget, and by late March, senators were still negotiating over them.

Shulkin repeatedly said he would never oversee the privatization of the VA, the only large government-run health care system in the United States. Veterans groups and some Democrats on House and Senate veterans committees, viewed the attacks on Shulkin as an effort to remove barriers to privatization.

Lobbyists, anyone?

Shulkin had a related problem. He liked freebies. That contributed to his getting canned as well.

But his tenure took a sour turn on Feb. 14 when the VA inspector-general reported that Shulkin and his wife had improperly accepted Wimbledon tickets and used staff to arrange site-seeing visits during a business trip to Denmark and England last summer.

Although Shulkin repaid the money in question, foes in the White House and the VA, loosely allied with the Koch brothers-funded Concerned Veterans of America, used the opportunity to press for his removal.

Shulkin responded in a series of interviews with POLITICO and other news outlets that there was “subversion” against him and his mission.

There’s always someone else to blame, isn’t there?

Except when you’re in the Oval, as President Truman understood. The buck stops there. Or it should.

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