Shulkin: March 29, 2018

Dear Mr. VP,

Oh, David Shulkin.


My only hope of a fellow Hampshire alum ever being president, and that would have required quite a deep reach into the line of succession. But now, it will never come to pass.

Sure, Shulkin probably did some shitty thing involving Wimbledon tickets. He didn’t sell out a whole country to the Russians, though, so I’m not feeling all that worried about him.

What I think Shulkin actually did was refuse to yes-man nod to selling out veterans to the private healthcare industry. He sure did have this op-ed ready to go pretty quickly, didn’t he.

The private sector, already struggling to provide adequate access to care in many communities, is ill-prepared to handle the number and complexity of patients that would come from closing or downsizing V.A. hospitals and clinics, particularly when it involves the mental health needs of people scarred by the horrors of war. Working with community providers to adequately ensure that veterans’ needs are met is a good practice. But privatization leading to the dismantling of the department’s extensive health care system is a terrible idea. The department’s understanding of service-related health problems, its groundbreaking research and its special ability to work with military veterans cannot be easily replicated in the private sector.

No Hampshire alum as president for me. Proud to say that the only potentially principled member of your cabinet shares an institution with me, though.

“As I prepare to leave government, I am struck by a recurring thought: It should not be this hard to serve your country.”


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