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>> It serves 20 million veterans and cost nearly $200 billion a year. Now the fate of America's second largest bureaucracy is up in the air as President Trump reshuffles the veterans administration. I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington where Trump is seeking to put the White House doctor in charge of the veteran's administration.
This after Trump forced out top official David Shulkin. Some in Congress are questioning whether Trump's handpicked replacement Ronny Jackson has the administrative skills to oversee 360,000 federal employees, but a bigger question is whether he'll try to put the system into private hands. This is an under the radar battle that's been playing out for years.
It could have huge consequences for veterans and for all Americans. Trump promised to improve veterans care in the 2016 election that we wasn't big on specifics.>> We're gonna make the veterans happy like they should be.>> Right wing groups like Concerned Veterans for America argue that the current system is too expensive and unresponsive.
Backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, they're pushing to shift much of it to the private sector. Allowing veterans to go to same hospitals and doctors as other Americans. That idea fiercely opposed by other veteran's groups like The American Legion saying, it will drive up costs for veterans and leave them worse off than they are now.
In a New York Times opinion piece on Thursday, Shulkin blasted privatization saying, it would shower outside's profits on a few providers. So what does the new guy think about all this? At this point, nobody knows. Dr. Jackson has served three presidents at the White House and he gave Trump a big thumbs after his physical in January.
>> The president is currently very healthy.>> But he hasn't run a hospital or taken on any sort of public policy role and he hasn't said whether the government should hand off more veteran's care to the private sector. This is sure to be a key issue in his confirmation hearings coming up, expected to get a lot more scrutiny in the weeks ahead.