President Donald Trump hands a pen to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie during a spending bill signing ceremony at VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Associated Press/Evan Vucci)

The Trump administration wants to shift billions of dollars from government-run veterans' hospitals to private health care providers. That's true even though earlier this year the administration vehemently denied it would privatize any part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The privatization of essential government services is nothing new, of course. Over the years, countries have privatized dozens of services and activities that were once the sole domain of governments, such as the provision of electricity and water, road operations and prisons and even health care, with the ostensible aim of making them more efficient.

But before going down that road, the question needs to be asked whether privatizing essential human services such as those for military veterans serves the public interest. New research we recently published suggests that privatization may come at a social cost.

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Casperassets.rbl.ms

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

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Editor’s Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

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AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on ProPublica.

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U.S. Air National Guard/Master Sgt. Nick Choy

Spokane, Washington, will lead the $10 billion effort to revamp the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ medical records system, but questions remain about what veterans can expect and the computer program selected to make those changes.

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Library of Congress

A senior official at the Department of Veterans Affairs has removed from his office a portrait of Nathan Bedford Forrest — a Confederate general who went on to become the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan — after being asked about it by a reporter from The Washington Post.

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