Op Ed

Undersecretary Shulkin Nominee to Head the VA and Build on Progress

January 11, 2017

Swords to Plowshares is proud to support the nomination of Dr. David Shulkin as the next Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA provides essential, comprehensive, and integrated services that must be preserved for current and future generations of veterans and our next VA Secretary has an obligation to uphold the promises we have made to those who have served.

There still remains a group of funders and ideologues who are waging battle to dismantle the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) care by outsourcing the delivery of its healthcare services to the private sector. They argue that veterans want to expand ‘Choice’ and that the private sector can provide better care, but the truth is that most veterans prefer VA care and want their system, which was designed to serve their needs, to be reinforced and strengthened rather than outsourced to non-veteran providers.

As the current Undersecretary for Health at the VA, Dr. Shulkin has tirelessly worked to make necessary reforms and ensure veterans have access to comprehensive VA care. Dr. Shulkin’s nomination will provide continuity in leadership at the VA. As a physician who is deeply familiar with the healthcare needs of veterans and a driving force in the improvements and modernization within the VA over the past two years, Dr. Shulkin is uniquely qualified to lead the VA.

We look forward to working with Dr. Shulkin to continue improvements at the VA. In order for the VA to continue its path of transformation, incoming leadership should focus on improving the VHA’s operations, support, and management functions. Improving these areas will strengthen its current health delivery model and protect the VA system of care preferred by veterans to effectively address their needs.

Feature image from VA.gov: New Under Secretary for Health visits Atlanta VAMC