AUTHOR ARCHIVES

Isaac Arnsdorf

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Trump’s VA Firing Spree Falters in Court

May 16, 2019 President Donald Trump often touts a law he signed to speed up firings at the Department of Veterans Affairs. He and other Republicans see the law as a model for weakening civil service protections across the federal government. The administration’s case for the new law centered on Brian Hawkins. Hawkins...

VA’s Private Care Program Headed for Tech Trouble, Review Finds

March 19, 2019 As the Trump administration prepares to launch a controversial program to expand private medical care for veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs is developing a software tool to determine who’s eligible. But the tool is so flawed, according to an independent review obtained by ProPublica, that it threatens to disrupt...

Trump Mar-a-Lago Buddy Wrote Policy Pitch. The President Sent It to VA Chief.

March 7, 2019 In late 2017, on one of President Donald Trump’s retreats to Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, Florida, he caught up with an old friend: Albert Hazzouri. When Hazzouri is not at Mar-a-Lago, he’s a cosmetic dentist in Scranton, Pennsylvania. At a campaign rally there in 2016, Trump gave...

The VA Is Paying for a Top Official’s Cross-Country Commute

February 19, 2019 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...

With Private Care Push, Trump’s VA Bucks Lawmakers and Some Veterans Groups

February 1, 2019 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...

The VA’s Private Care Program Gave Companies Billions and Vets Longer Waits

December 19, 2018 For years, conservatives have assailed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a dysfunctional bureaucracy. They said private enterprise would mean better, easier-to-access health care for veterans. President Donald Trump embraced that position, enthusiastically moving to expand the private sector’s role. Here’s what has actually happened in the four years...

VA Shadow Rulers Had Sway Over Contracting and Budgeting

December 3, 2018 Newly released emails about the three Trump associates who secretly steered the Department of Veterans Affairs show how deeply the trio was involved in some of the agency’s most consequential matters, most notably a multibillion-dollar effort to overhaul electronic health records for millions of veterans. Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter,...

Trump Administration Defends Legality of VA Shadow Rulers

November 23, 2018 The Trump administration is defending the legality of having three Trump associates help steer the Department of Veterans Affairs from the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort, asserting that a Watergate-era sunshine law on advisory committees shouldn’t apply. In a court filing last week, the government lawyers argued in part that the trio...

Trump Administration Plots Costly Private-Care Expansion for Veterans

November 16, 2018 Last June, President Donald Trump signed a landmark law on veterans’ health care after months of tense negotiations. At the ceremony in the Rose Garden, Trump said the bill would deliver on his campaign promise to let veterans see private doctors instead of using the Department of Veterans Affairs’ government-run...

GOP Senator Pushed VA to Use Unproven 'Brainwave Frequency' Treatment

October 18, 2018 Sen. Dean Heller, a Nevada Republican, pushed doctors at the Veterans Affairs medical center in Reno to adopt an experimental mental health treatment marketed by a company with ties to his office. On a Friday night last December in his Reno office, Heller, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs...