By Betsy McCaughey Creators Syndicate
Since President Donald Trump ousted Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, the question reverberating in Washington is whether Trump’s new pick, Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, is capable of heading a department with 360,000 employees and 9 million vets under its care.
Senate Democrats carp he lacks experience running “a complex organization.”
Experience is overrated. President Barack Obama’s VA Secretary, Robert McDonald, failed miserably, despite having run Procter & Gamble. Vets died on phony wait lists on McDonald’s watch.
Jackson’s last combat role was with a surgical shock trauma unit in Iraq. Sounds like good preparation for battling the killer VA bureaucracy.
Jackson also shares Trump’s vision of putting vets in the driver’s seat about their own medical care. Here’s what Jackson can learn from his predecessors’ failures.
Lesson 1: Make vets the priority, not protecting the VA bureaucracy. Shulkin refused to do that.
Trump has pledged to fix the Veterans Choice Program so vets can see private doctors when they decide it’s necessary. VCP was created in 2014 after revelations that sick vets were dying on wait lists at VA hospitals. VCP is supposed to allow vets to get private care if they live far from