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On the heels of Veterans Affairs Secretary firing, we discuss the possibility of privatizing the VA




U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin leaves after a hearing before the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of House Appropriations Committee March 15, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin leaves after a hearing before the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of House Appropriations Committee March 15, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

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On Wednesday, Trump fired Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin and announced that he will nominate his White House physician, Admiral Ronny Jackson, to fill the vacancy.

In February, Shulkin was criticized in an inspector general’s report for using public funds for a trip to Europe with his wife. But Shulkin has said the trip was mischaracterized, that it was a work trip and all expenses were approved in advance by an internal ethics committee.

After being criticized in the report, Shulkin wrote a personal check to cover those expenditures. He says the trip is being used as an excuse, and that his firing is likely due to his clashes with officials in the White House who want to privatize the V.A. Shulkin, who released an op-ed in the New York Times Wednesday, opposes privatization and says the private sector isn’t equipped to provide V.A. care.

We get the latest on Shulkin’s departure, Admiral Jackson’s nomination and the history and future of the privatization conversation surround the V.A.

Guest:

Nikki Wentling, reporter covering veterans for Stars and Stripes, an American military newspaper based in Washington, D.C.; she tweets @nikkiwentling