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Trump's Trying to Turn the VA into the Koch Brothers' Piggybank

Two developments occurred last week that should trouble veterans who rely on Veterans Administration (VA) facilities for their healthcare.

The bottom line is that those actions, one by President Trump and the other by his Republican pals in Congress, could mean fewer facilities and reduced funding for those facilities, while fattening the wallets of his zillionnaire buddies, the Koch brothers.

This article by Forbes contributing writer Charles Tiefer puts it into perspective.

To summarize, one of the developments concerns Trump and the makeup of a commission focused on closing VA facilities. The second involves transferring funding of veterans’ healthcare from VA facilities to private entities.

The Commission

Tiefer writes that last Wednesday, Trump signed a law with a provision to establish a commission charged with conducting a nationwide “asset review” of the VA infrastructure. If the commission is stacked with advocates of dismantling the VA and privatizing most care, the results could be disastrous for veterans whose healthcare facilities would be closed. The commission will be empowered to make final decisions.

"There are likely to be regional winners and losers, and some decisions may be made to accommodate real estate developers, not veterans," Tiefer suggests.

After signing the bill into law, Trump said he would "consult" with lawmakers in appointing commission members and would “welcome their input” but, that the final decisions will remain with him. "Say hello to the Koch-created Concerned Veterans for America, the major organization demanding privatization no matter what the cost, financial or otherwise," Tiefer writes.

Veterans Choice

The second issue came in a House appropriation bill involving the Veterans Choice Program, a move some see as privatizing veterans health care.

"The conservative forces in Congress want to switch priority for veterans’ care funding from VA facilities to private facilities," explains Tiefer. "When more is lavished on private care, less is available for maintaining the quality of VA facilities. It facilitates a vicious circle of underfunding VA and using the resulting problems and shortfalls as a rationale for privatization."

Both of these developments should concern veterans who rely upon VA facilities for healthcare. Veterans who support the Republicans in Congress and President Trump should recognize that they are actually supporting officials who are boldly and blatantly acting agains their best interests.

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