President Trump may have finally followed through with his threat to fire Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, but Shulkin isn't going quietly. Hours after he was fired Wednesday afternoon, Shulkin published an op-ed in The New York Times suggesting that he was pushed out because he stood in the way of Trump appointees who want to privatize the VA. After professing his love for veterans and the agency he led, Shulkin lists what he views as his big accomplishments over three years at the Department of Veterans Affairs, adding:
It seems that these successes within the department have intensified the ambitions of people who want to put VA health care in the hands of the private sector. ... They saw me as an obstacle to privatization who had to be removed. That is because I am convinced that privatization is a political issue aimed at rewarding select people and companies with profits, even if it undermines care for veterans. ... Unfortunately, the department has become entangled in a brutal power struggle, with some political appointees choosing to promote their agendas instead of what's best for veterans. These individuals, who seek to privatize veteran health care as an alternative to government-run VA care, unfortunately fail to engage in realistic plans regarding who will care for the more than 9 million veterans who rely on the department for life-sustaining care. [David Shulkin, via The New York Times]
Shulkin goes on to explain why he believes the private sector is ill-equipped to replicate the VA's "understanding of service-related health problems, its groundbreaking research, and its special ability to work with military veterans," and claims he was "falsely accused of things by people who wanted me out of the way" and undermined in his efforts to "stand up for this great department and all that it embodies" by the new "toxic, chaotic, disrespectful, and subversive" environment in Washington. Read his entire op-ed at The New York Times.