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Monday, February 18, 2019

VA Paying Thousands For Top Official’s Cross-Country Commute

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs paid $13,000 over a three-month period for a senior official’s biweekly commute to Washington from his home in California, according to expense reports obtained by ProPublica.

The official, Darin Selnick, is a senior adviser to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie and has played a key role in developing the administration’s controversial new rules on referring veterans to private doctors. The proposal, announced last month, has drawn opposition from some lawmakers and veterans groups.

Selnick lived in Washington during a previous stint in the Trump administration, from January 2017 until March or April 2018, earning a $165,000 salary.



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Congress Probes Influence Of Trump Cronies At VA

Congress has launched an official investigation into how Trump allowed three wealthy members of his Mar-a-Lago club to exert sweeping influence over the Department of Veterans Affairs.

None of the three men — Ike Perlmutter (chairman and CEO of Marvel Entertainment), Bruce Moskowitz (a doctor), and Marc Sherman (an attorney) — had experience with veterans’ healthcare, or even any experience serving in the government or the military. Yet they were able to influence government decisions that affected the lives of American veterans, and may have made unethical profits for themselves in the process.

The chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Rep.…

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Trump’s VA Pushing Forward With Privatized Care

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica.

When Congress passed a bill last year to transform the Department of Veterans Affairs, lawmakers said they were getting rid of arbitrary rules for when the government would pay for veterans to see private doctors.

Under the old program, veterans could go to the private sector if they would have to wait 30 days or travel 40 miles for care in the VA. Lawmakers and veterans groups, including conservatives, criticized those rules as arbitrary. The new law, known as the Mission Act, was supposed to let doctors and patients decide whether to use a private sector based on individualized health needs.



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