Donald Trump has been vigorously working on his cabinet. There are only two openings left. One of these will send a strong signal as to which direction his promises to veterans will go.
Based on a ten-point plan, the central core of which would allow veterans the portability to seek care from private-sector providers, Trump has promised veterans an overhaul of the Veterans Administration health-care system. So far, Trump has not named his VA Secretary. The New York Times reports that they’re looking at the options for what Democrats call “privatization” of the current single-payer system:
” President-elect Donald J. Trump is considering a plan to allow military veterans to opt out of medical care at Veterans Affairs hospitals and instead see private doctors of their choosing, a senior transition official told reporters here on Wednesday.
Mr. Trump met with several executives of private hospital systems at his Mar-a-Lago estate on Wednesday. After the meeting, Mr. Trump called out to reporters, saying he wanted to describe his ideas for changes to the Department of Veterans Affairs, but then quickly directed one of his senior aides to describe the proposals under consideration.”
“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.” is the final and crucial one. The VA would need an overhaul. The new administration does not need to completely throw out the VA but:
” The ideas described by the transition aide on Wednesday echoed vague promises Mr. Trump made on the campaign trail that veterans would get timely care from either a V.A. facility or a private doctor. The transition official said that Mr. Trump had discussed the possibility of a “public-private option” with the hospital executives.
“Some vets love the V.A.,” the official said, and “some vets want to go to the V.A.” The official added that “the idea is to come up with a solution that solves the problem.”
Some Veterans are satisfied with their treatment at the VA facilities. The VA is unique in that it provides services that are specific to the needs of veterans. The VA, with the help of outside providers could then focus on the needs of veterans who need the particular care that is needed. The bureaucracy still needs attention but would not be as burdened.
The pressure to keep Obama appointee Robert McDonald would be a great error. The man has lied about firing people and has not held anyone accountable for past errors. McDonald must be terminated on January 20th. There is no other way to handle his continued dishonesty.
Two candidates for the position that have been named in the media. One is former Senator Scott Brown who would bring Trump some advantages in political connections and media know-how. The other is Pete Hegseth. He helped develop a bipartisan plan that would deliver what Trump officials promise. Dramatic change would come from freeing veterans from bureaucrats and the man who was the founder of ‘Concerned Veterans for America’ seems a good choice.
” Hegseth fits that bill well. Although only 36 years old, Hegseth served as an infantry officer in Guantanamo Bay, and in Baghdad and Samarra on his next tour, receiving a Bronze Star among other commendations. When he returned, he founded Vets for Freedom to argue for a commitment to victory in Iraq, but eventually became CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, a group that focused on overhauling the Veterans Administration to provide choice for veterans in health care. Under his leadership, CV4A produced an extensive, detailed, and bipartisan proposal for exactly the kind of bold action that Trump promised during the campaign. Despite offering to work with the Obama administration on reform, that proposal and CV4A have been shut out in favor of Barack Obama’s ideas of incremental reform. And we have seen how well that’s worked out.
The CV4A approach might have a better chance of getting through the Senate under the direction of a well-versed and energetic young VA Secretary with depth on the issue of reform. Hegseth put it together with former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and Democratic Congressman Jim Marshall, both of whom can assist in generating support across the aisle. It will need to get 60 votes because of the legislative filibuster, which Republicans should leave in place, so it will need some bipartisan support. It’s still going to be a political risk, but Trump has pledged to fight for just that in regard to veterans.”
We can only wait and see who Trump’s choice will be. His selection will tell us more about the direction in which his beliefs are heading.