Future Veterans Affairs clinics could feature fewer maternity services, fewer cancer specialists and more reliance on private-sector clinics for routine or non-military care, under Secretary David Shulkin’s vision for the department.
But he insists that doesn’t amount to privatization of VA’s responsibilities.
“I am interested in building world-class services in things I know the veterans of this country must rely upon us for,” he told reporters at a roundtable event Tuesday morning. “I’m not interested in building world-class services that already exist.”
“We don’t have enough resources to do everything. So let’s build an integrated system that relies on what already exists in the private sector with what needs to be enhanced in the VA.”
For months, Shulkin and top congressional Republicans have insisted that criticisms their plans would “privatize” VA services are unfounded, and that the $180 billion-plus department will not be slowly dismantled in favor of commercial medical options.
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