Trump’s Choice for Veterans Affairs Secretary: Is He Joking?

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Trump has fired Veterans Affairs Secretary, David Shulkin, M.D. and would now put the White House physician into that key governmental/health care slot.  While there were issues of Shulkin taking his wife to Europe at government expense (hey, he was taking his wife with him which is a nice thing to do), although he promised to reimburse for her expenses, and other deficiencies in VA care at a D.C. medical care facility, and doing a very poor job, I hardly think that Jackson, the “personal” White House physician should be given the keys to Veterans Affairs and veterans’ health care.

Okay, some background…….Trump now says that he will nominate Ronny Jackson, M.D. to this recent vacancy. After his health exam, Trump would have us believe that he weighs 199 pounds.  What do you think? Jackson purportedly announced that Trump was in excellent health.  Have you seen pictures of Trump?  He has to weigh between 350 and 380 pounds.  When doctoring his photos, which is a major activity, there is no doubt that he is in the obese range for body weight.  He gets NO exercise, whatsoever.  He lives on a diet of pure carbohydrates and the doctor who could declare this physical monstrosity “in perfect health,” would not seem to be a credible choice to be in charge of veteran health care.  We will not go into Trump’s mental health world at this point, but that cannot be within “perfect mental health” guidelines either.   Every day Trump’s heart, which is too small for his enormous body, works very hard to keep up with the taxing business of tweeting.  If the official medical record lists Trump’s weight at 199 pounds, Trump would have faked his medical record and Jackson should have stood up to this. If Jackson cannot oversee a medical record, he is responsible for maintaining, he will not be able to stand up to the vultures around Trump who will loot the “billions of dollars” budget for the largest health care society in the U.S.

There have been decades of maligning veterans and their health care.  Bush 43 gutted the VA budget, as damaged veterans began coming home from Iraq and Vietnam veterans began dying off in droves.  Since that time the VA has built huge new facilitates around the country and yet has gutted staff. These new facilities, with cafeterias, Starbucks and gift shops have everything a veteran needs…. except doctors and responsible and reliable health care. Nearly each one of these facilities was built on land either condemned as a super fund site or purchased from a political donor.  Each facility is a boondoggle of cost over runs.

Jackson would be in charge of the largest health care system in the U.S./world. Trump’s primary offering to veterans is his “Veterans Choice program, which is an utter failure since it does not guarantee health care of any type to a veteran.  This system is supposedly designed to give veterans who cannot get treatment by specialists within the VA system within a medically reasonable time frame, an appointment to see a specialist, The veteran will wait weeks and months to see private specialists only to find that Care Choice funds only consultations and not treatments or tests the private physician may need to complete care, and does not pay those bills which are then put back onto the veteran.

Here is a likely scenario which will lead a veteran to the Choice Program. Let’s us say the veteran needs an appointment with a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physician for pain management for unrelenting pain in neck, back, should, elbow, arm, and hand.  The PM&R physician at the VA cannot see the veteran within a three to four week time frame then the VA has the responsibility to make sure a veteran can receive care in the private sector.  Once a referral has been made by the VA primary care physician, the Care Choice program will schedule an appointment for the veteran with a physician that will accept Care Choice payment (similar to when a doctor will accept Medicare payments as payment in full). Depending on that doctor’s scheduling capabilities, that can take weeks. The specialist will see the veteran and do a history and exam, maybe order x-rays, lab tests, physical therapy instead of going straight to surgical options, etc.  What the veteran will find out is that these normal areas of determining diagnosis and then treatment all need to in turn to be approved by the VA and that will take weeks.

All this time the veteran has been in intense pain that has greatly affected his or her quality of life.  No sleep, feeling horrible. Then if the veteran has started physical therapy as a treatment deemed necessary by the specialist, the cost of the physical therapy will not be covered by the choice program since the VA has its own physical therapy departments, which will NEVER been as effective or offer the variety of services that a non-VA physical therapy department will be able to offer.  Result is out of pocket expenses for the veteran, only if he or she can afford to pay.  Otherwise, back to the VA for sub-par medical care and long waits.

When Trump talks about visiting a doctor, he means actually “visiting” like playing golf or going out to lunch, as long as there is no medical care involved.

As mentioned in an earlier article, there is an ever-increasing obesity problem with 70% of the population being overweight or obese and 30% are strictly obese.  Trump is in the obese range.  The doctor, Ronny Jackson, who signed off on Trump weighing 199 pounds, his probable weight from the waist down, is not going to break the tradition of betraying veterans that began as Vietnam veterans began coming home. Veterans need another person who can and will put them first.


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1 COMMENT

  1. This is a total ‘hit piece’. Shulkan was moving at a snail’s pace to reform the VA. We still have too many vets taking their lives for ‘whatever reason’. If vets have the option to get treatment outside the system, it can only make the VA bureaucracy more responsive or they lose their budget. My vote is for saving lives.

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