David Shulkin, who served as the secretary of Veterans Affairs in both the Obama and Trump administrations, will speak next week at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia about the policy and politics of veterans’ affairs and the obstacles vets face when it comes to health care.
He’ll also be discussing his new book, It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Serve Your Country: Our Broken Government and the Plight of Veterans. In the book, Shulkin details a shadow government of nonvetted Trump advisers — with no health experience — determining veterans’ policy.
The Gladwyne resident ran several major health systems before he was asked to serve as the VA’s undersecretary under Obama. The current president retained Shulkin as the head of the department, where he oversaw a hospital empire that served nine million veterans and employed 135,000 people.
Shulkin said that, under his leadership, the VA reduced wait times for health care, improved the appeals process for veterans seeking disability benefits, focused on reducing the number of veteran suicides by providing more mental health services, and helped to reduce unemployment among veterans.
Trump fired Shulkin by tweet following an imbroglio over a European business excursion taken by the secretary and his wife. In his book, Shulkin said he was set up by GOP political appointees who wanted to privatize the VA and who believed he wasn’t onboard with an ideology that called for dismantling the system.
The event, at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia at One South Broad, is open to the public. The program will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 25. Admission will be $30 and include a reception and a signed copy of Shulkin’s book.