President Donald Trump. Photo: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Vernon Young.
The White House's new executive order targeting veteran suicide is a commitment long overdue, though it's not surprising, given President Donald Trump's loud and vocal support of our military and veterans, that he is taking up the charge.
The latest report from the VA establishes that 20 veterans a day die by suicide. This administration now owns that number and the people behind it, in ways it did not before.
The President's Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) is a mouthful, literally and metaphorically. A massive undertaking, the pathway ahead is unclear and fraught with the opportunity to misstep. There is no one-size fits all solution for suicide. Therefore, there must be an acknowledgement of the diversity of the veteran population if any solution is to be successful.
The Trump administration is looking into offering grants to connect veterans who are not already getting care from the Department of Veterans Affairs with the outside support they need as part a new initiative to tackle veterans suicides, a senior administration official said on Tuesday.
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.
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.
Robert Wilkie (Photo: Cpl. Dallas Johnson/US Marine Corps)
Robert Wilkie has had it with people stereotyping veterans as victims — or at least that's the framing of a recent letter the Veterans Affairs secretary fired off to the American Federation of Government Employees on Monday, the largest union of federal employees in the United States.