Trump's Transition Team Is Considering Privatizing the Department of Veterans Affairs

Major veteran groups have declared that they'll oppose such a move.

Photo Credit: Presidio of Monterey, Flickr

Donald Trump’s transition team recently announced that it was contemplating whether to privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs. Such a move would allow veterans to skip treatment at VA hospitals and give them funds to attend private-sector facilities instead.

“It’s one of the options on the table," said the transition official. "Definitely an option on the table to have a system where potentially vets can choose either or, or all private.”

The New York Times reports that Trump recently "met with several executives of private hospital systems at his Mar-a-Lago estate," and Trump bragged about meeting with "the best people" from the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland and Johns Hopkins at his impromptu press chat on Wednesday night.

Major veterans groups oppose the potential, insisting that a privatized program would force veterans to wrestle with a system unable to cater to the specific medical needs of former military members. Earlier this year, dozens of veterans groups met with Trump's transition team and stressed their opposition to any privatization. "The American Legion absolutely opposes privatization," American Legion Executive Director Verna Jones said after the meeting, "We strongly advocate for a healthy VA health care system for veterans."

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump spoke of a massive overhaul for the Department of Veterans Affairs. During a speech in Virginia Beach, Trump unveiled a 10-point plan for the VA and called for privatization.

Trump still hasn't picked anyone to run the Department of Veterans Affairs, but he has met with candidates for the unfilled position at his Florida estate.

Michael Arria is an associate editor at AlterNet and AlterNet's labor editorFollow @MichaelArria on Twitter.

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