Veterans, when polled overwhelmingly reject the idea of privatizing their Veterans Administration health care, but President Donald Trump, bowing to pressure from two of the richest people in America, Charles, and David Koch, has already released a plan to do just that.
Make no mistake: It’s a push to undermine the VA health care system, as part of the larger push to undermine health care for all Americans. It’s all about prioritizing profits for a select few over the health care needs of the majority of people.
They aren’t listening to the people or veterans. Will Fischer of VoteVets, said:
“And ‘privatize?’ That’s just a fancy way of saying, ‘We’re gonna take tax dollars out of the VA, and put it into the pockets of millionaires and billionaires.'”
If Trump and his backers get what they want, they can dash the hopes of not just veterans, but of all Americans who want affordable care. The VA’s system is a government-run single provider health care system that most veterans say works well. It’s a model Trump Republicans want to dash to pieces before the Democrats can regain control of Congress.
The Koch brother financially back a bogus group called “Concerned Veterans for America” which is pushing to privatize the VA, but dismantling health care for veterans is just the start of the Koch brother’s plans. Fischer said:
“And the people who are the opponents of Medicare for all, or single-payer, they know that if they can destroy the VA, they can dash the hopes of there ever being universal health care realized in this country.”
With the firing of Sec. Shulkin, you'll be hearing a lot about the VA in the news today. Our own @will_c_fischer explains why Trump's push for VA privatization is bad for veterans. #NowThis pic.twitter.com/CEX5b3mLrH
— VoteVets (@votevets) March 29, 2018
Trump reportedly fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin last week. The White House said Trump decided to replace him because:
“…Distractions were getting in the way of carrying out the President’s agenda.”
Shulkin took to the New York Times to say he was fired specifically because he opposed the administration’s push to privatize VA health care.
Now, it appears somebody is lying, because while Shulkin maintains he was fired, the White House claims he actually resigned now. If Shulkin is correct, it means Trump may not legally be able to appoint someone to fill his vacancy, which he already did temporarily.
Trump appointed a Defense Department official, Robert Wilkie as acting secretary, sidestepping Shulkin’s deputy, Thomas Bowman, who was next in the line of succession.
Every major veterans’ organization in this country vigorously opposes the privatization of the VA. I stand with them. The Veterans Affairs Committee should not approve any nominee for secretary who supports the privatization of the VA. https://t.co/57GmVvdVlm
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) March 28, 2018
Any decision Wilkie makes could be legally challenged as a result of this dilemma.
When Wilkie departs, Trump’s choice to nominate his personal White House physician to fill Shulkin’s position will face challenges as well. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who serves on the Senate Veterans Committee, believes Trump chose Dr. Ronny Jackson based on his willingness to privatize the VA and not any other qualification. Sanders said:
“He has no experience in this area but I would strongly suspect that if you get rid of Shulkin, who opposed privatization, and you put in Dr. Jackson, that is what his mission will be.”
Sanders believes Trump is indeed bowing to the Koch brothers, and it’s not just the VA health care at risk, but a great deal more.
“What the Koch brothers believe is not just that we have to privatize the Veterans administration, they want to privatize Medicare, and the Trump administration had a $500 billion cut in Medicare. They want to privatize Medicaid. They had a trillion-dollar cut in Medicaid. They’re beginning to go after Social Security.”
Bernie believes that the Trump administration is effectively under the leadership of the Koch brothers and that they seek to dismantle the safety net for all Americans, in favor of helping the rich get richer at their expense. Sanders said:
“We have a secretary of education who does not believe in public education. A secretary of the environment, EPA, who does not believe in environmental protection. So, what you’re looking at under the leadership of the Koch brothers is a massive effort to privatize agency of the U.S. government and give them over to private corporations.”
The lives of veterans and all Americans are at stake if Trump and the Koch brothers fulfill their goal of privatizing the VA health care system. Americans must demand that representatives represent them, not the greed of oligarchs like the Koch brothers or Trump.
For more, see the video from Democracy Now! below:
Featured image: Screenshot via YouTube Video.