Joining former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe in the long list of administrators and advisors either fired or resigned from Trump’s cabinet, Shulkin exited the VA under a storm of controversy, largely focused on the privatization of veteran health care. Html” target=” blank”>op-ed penned for the New York Times just one day after his firing, Shulkin bemoaned the agency’s move towards privatized medicine, blaming profit-seeking officials for his ousting.
“They saw me as an obstacle to privatization who had to be removed,” Shulkin wrote in Wednesday’s Times op-ed. “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. Compounding his lack of administrative experience, Jackson has not clued the public in on his political standings, with little known about his opinions of health care privatization or opioids. As he awaits Congressional confirmation, a number of lawmakers and veterans specialists have already expressed concerns about the Admiral’s qualifications. “But how that would translate to managing the second-largest department in federal government I have no idea. Can he run VA? Anyone’s guess is as good as mine. “
Similarly, Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, a veteran of the Iraq War, released a statement expressing skepticism about Jackson’s nomination.
“I will carefully review Dr. Jackson’s qualifications to determine whether he has the best interests of our Veterans at heart or whether he, like many in the Trump administration, wants to push VA down the dangerous path of privatization,” Sen. Duckworth said.
A timeline for when Jackson will undergo confirmation hearings to take over the federal agency is currently unknown.