Mar-A-Lago members virtually running the VA

K1052

Elite Member
Aug 21, 2003
46,035
33,043
136
This is astounding. Pretty sure nobody elected Ike Pearlmutter and friends to do this.

Last February, shortly after Peter O’Rourke became chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs, he received an email from Bruce Moskowitz with his input on a new mental health initiative for the VA. “Received,” O’Rourke replied. “I will begin a project plan and develop a timeline for action.”

O’Rourke treated the email as an order, but Moskowitz is not his boss. In fact, he is not even a government official. Moskowitz is a Palm Beach doctor who helps wealthy people obtain high-service “concierge” medical care.

More to the point, he is one-third of an informal council that is exerting sweeping influence on the VA from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida. The troika is led by Ike Perlmutter, the reclusive chairman of Marvel Entertainment, who is a longtime acquaintance of President Trump’s. The third member is a lawyer named Marc Sherman. None of them has ever served in the U.S. military or government.


But hundreds of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and interviews with former administration officials tell a different story — of a previously unknown triumvirate that hovered over public servants without any transparency, accountability or oversight. The Mar-a-Lago Crowd spoke with VA officials daily, the documents show, reviewing all manner of policy and personnel decisions. They prodded the VA to start new programs, and officials travelled to Mar-a-Lago at taxpayer expense to hear their views. “Everyone has to go down and kiss the ring,” a former administration official said.


Perlmutter, Moskowitz and Sherman acted like board members pounding a CEO to turn around a struggling company, a former administration official said. In email after email, officials sought approval from the trio: for an agenda Shulkin was about to present to Trump for a research effort on suicide prevention and for a plan to recruit experts from academic medical centers. “Everything needs to be run by them,” the first former official said, recalling the process. “They view themselves as making the decisions.”

The Mar-a-Lago Crowd bombarded VA officials with demands, many of them inapt or unhelpful. On phone calls with VA officials, Perlmutter would bark at them to move faster, having no patience for bureaucratic explanations about why something has to be done a certain way or take a certain amount of time, former officials said. He issued orders in a thick, Israeli-accented English that can be hard to understand

But it wasn’t just Shulkin — all the officials that the Leinenkugel memo singled out for removal are now gone, replaced with allies of Perlmutter, Sherman and Moskowitz. The memo suggested that Sandoval take charge of the Office of Information and Technology, overseeing the implementation of the Cerner contract; he got the job in April. The memo proposed removing Deputy Secretary Tom Bowman; he left in June, and the post hasn’t been filled. The memo floated Richard Stone for under secretary for health; he got the job on an acting basis in July. Leinenkugel himself took charge of a commission on mental health (the same topic Moskowitz had emailed O’Rourke about). O’Rourke, having hit it off with the Mar-a-Lago Crowd, became acting secretary in May.

Read the whole story. It's nuts.

https://www.propublica.org/article/...ial&utm_source=twitter&utm_content=1533681163
 
Nov 8, 2012
20,828
4,777
146
Thanks will read later. VA needs to be shut down. Offer insurance to the vets and call it a day.

Just further proof that government run agencies are always a "set sail for fail".

Agree completely - give them full blown insurance coverage, use all major insurance companies and on a yearly basis negotiate the price between them.
 

UglyCasanova

Lifer
Mar 25, 2001
19,275
1,361
126
Why does the VA need to be shut down specifically?

Is it the quality of care vs. the private sector? The accountability? Why should the VA be shut down as opposed to competently managed?


The flip question is why does it need to exist? Vets can be offered good healthcare without having to have their own hospital system.
 

UNCjigga

Lifer
Dec 12, 2000
24,816
9,026
136
The flip question is why does it need to exist? Vets can be offered good healthcare without having to have their own hospital system.

Probably because vets can have some very specific care needs that need to be specialized, not served by general health infrastructure. I think scaling down with a focus on active duty, wounded vets and mental health would make sense. I don't think the VA needs to provide lifetime care for common ailments like heart disease or diabetes (those things can be outsourced to private clinics and insurance.)
 
  • Like
Reactions: cytg111
Nov 8, 2012
20,828
4,777
146
Probably because vets can have some very specific care needs that need to be specialized, not served by general health infrastructure. I think scaling down with a focus on active duty, wounded vets and mental health would make sense. I don't think the VA needs to provide lifetime care for common ailments like heart disease or diabetes (those things can be outsourced to private clinics and insurance.)

You're right - and you know what? Insurance will cover anyone and anything - it's just a matter of the price. So if they need psychological help - that's something that can be insured... and there are plenty of facilities that offer such services.

One of the (many) problems with the VA (as has been described time and time again) is that when you limit your vets to certain facilities, how is that very helpful? Most times stuff relating to healthcare is often an EMERGENCY - which means having to travel 50+ miles to a facility should be avoided at all costs.
 

whm1974

Diamond Member
Jul 24, 2016
9,460
1,570
96
I wonder what would happen if the VA just told Pearlmutter and his friends to jgo and FUCK OFF?
 
  • Like
Reactions: DarthKyrie

UglyCasanova

Lifer
Mar 25, 2001
19,275
1,361
126
I think you'd find the marketplace would take care of itself. The docs that worked in the VA get absorbed by the private market and then the vet gets access to their specialty as well as that of the rest of the facilities/resources. Running your own nationwide hospital system seems like an extraordinarily inefficient way to achieve healthcare for them.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
83,997
47,957
136
You're right - and you know what? Insurance will cover anyone and anything - it's just a matter of the price. So if they need psychological help - that's something that can be insured... and there are plenty of facilities that offer such services.

One of the (many) problems with the VA (as has been described time and time again) is that when you limit your vets to certain facilities, how is that very helpful? Most times stuff relating to healthcare is often an EMERGENCY - which means having to travel 50+ miles to a facility should be avoided at all costs.

The sort of specialized treatments that veterans need would likely have them traveling far more than 50 miles under a ‘just insurance’ system. The VA is also dramatically cheaper and more efficient than other insurance systems in the US while delivering comparable quality (as per independent evaluation from RAND) so I hope conservatives are willing to open their wallets to billions and billions in additional spending for no discernible benefit other than ideological goals. Couldn’t that money be better spent on...well...anything else?

Back to the OP though, this is egregious corruption and a congressional inquiry should be opened immediately as well as a potential referral to law enforcement. The fact that policy is being influenced by individuals who appear to have gained access through payments to a club the president owns... people should probably be going to prison.
 

Chromagnus

Senior member
Feb 28, 2017
255
111
86
It seems like a lose/lose situation. If the VA didn't exist there would be a big base of people saying that we are not giving our veterans good enough care by throwing them in with the general population or by outsourcing them to shitty insurers. There would be stories of veterans getting bad treatment, not specialized treatment, or just falling through the cracks in general.
 

Puffnstuff

Lifer
Mar 9, 2005
16,028
4,798
136
As a compensable disabled veteran I use the VA on a regular basis for my health care and while I don't want to see it go away I would like to be able to access private sector health care just like any other insurance.
 
Jan 25, 2011
16,589
8,671
146
The sort of specialized treatments that veterans need would likely have them traveling far more than 50 miles under a ‘just insurance’ system. The VA is also dramatically cheaper and more efficient than other insurance systems in the US while delivering comparable quality (as per independent evaluation from RAND) so I hope conservatives are willing to open their wallets to billions and billions in additional spending for no discernible benefit other than ideological goals. Couldn’t that money be better spent on...well...anything else?

Back to the OP though, this is egregious corruption and a congressional inquiry should be opened immediately as well as a potential referral to law enforcement. The fact that policy is being influenced by individuals who appear to have gained access through payments to a club the president owns... people should probably be going to prison.
And this man knows what I was getting at with my question about why specifically the VA would need to be closed.
 

dank69

Lifer
Oct 6, 2009
35,321
28,571
136
Just further proof that government run agencies are always a "set sail for fail".

Agree completely - give them full blown insurance coverage, use all major insurance companies and on a yearly basis negotiate the price between them.
Claim that government run agencies are set sail for fail and then elect a bad reality TV star to prove it.
 

UNCjigga

Lifer
Dec 12, 2000
24,816
9,026
136
Back to the OP though, this is egregious corruption and a congressional inquiry should be opened immediately as well as a potential referral to law enforcement. The fact that policy is being influenced by individuals who appear to have gained access through payments to a club the president owns... people should probably be going to prison.
Wow, I totally missed that angle. Do I smell another emoluments lawsuit?
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
83,997
47,957
136
Wow, I totally missed that angle. Do I smell another emoluments lawsuit?

This would be more straight out bribery I would think. The president owns a club in Florida where he quite conspicuously mingles with the guests, discusses policy with them, and asks their advice. The only way to gain this access is to give large cash payments to the president personally, on an ongoing basis. This massive corruption has been evident from the very first day and Republicans have shown zero interest in it.

Someone donated to Clinton's transparent nonprofit and then a company they used to own gets approval for a uranium purchase by 9 entities, one of which is run by Clinton? CORRUPTION THAT MUST BE INVESTIGATED. People literally paying the president in order to personally lobby him? SEEMS LEGIT.
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
14,202
4,401
136
We should privatize the VA. That way we can pay insurance companies to pay a clinic to pay a doctor to care for our Vets. Also no need to have any type of price controls, the market will take care of that. Profit driven companies would never cooperate together to gouge the basically bottomless pockets of taxpayers because they would rather compete and make less money for ideological reasons. Am I doing this libertarian thing right?
 

UglyCasanova

Lifer
Mar 25, 2001
19,275
1,361
126
The sort of specialized treatments that veterans need would likely have them traveling far more than 50 miles under a ‘just insurance’ system. The VA is also dramatically cheaper and more efficient than other insurance systems in the US while delivering comparable quality (as per independent evaluation from RAND) so I hope conservatives are willing to open their wallets to billions and billions in additional spending for no discernible benefit other than ideological goals. Couldn’t that money be better spent on...well...anything else?

Back to the OP though, this is egregious corruption and a congressional inquiry should be opened immediately as well as a potential referral to law enforcement. The fact that policy is being influenced by individuals who appear to have gained access through payments to a club the president owns... people should probably be going to prison.


That makes no sense, why would billions more need to be spent? Operating an entire nationwide hospital system is cheaper than offering insurance coverage?
 

senseamp

Lifer
Feb 5, 2006
35,787
6,195
126
Why does the VA need to be shut down specifically?

Is it the quality of care vs. the private sector? The accountability? Why should the VA be shut down as opposed to competently managed?
Because most veterans vote Republican while sitting on government single payer dole. Let them try their luck in the private markets they love so much. Give them a voucher.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DarthKyrie
Nov 8, 2012
20,828
4,777
146
Yes, why wouldn't that make sense? What do you think insurance is paying for if not a nationwide hospital system, albeit one with an extra layer of profit?

His question makes sense.

The cost to build, maintain, and run a hospital - probably the most expensive
+The costs directly hiring the doctors
+The costs for the actual equipment - beds, MRI machine, etc..
+The cost for basic materials - sheets, needles, etc...
+The costs for staff - appointments, cleaning, billing, etc..

vs. paying for an insurance pool - where you don't have all those costs. The costs to maintain the hospitals, pay the doctors, etc.. are then split with everyone - which is how they are already paid for is the large pool of all insured folks that go (not just veterans).