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VA's challenges raise questions about some of Jackson's experiences

If Jackson is confirmed, he will inherit a veterans affairs department that has faced challenges that stretched for years. The department, which employs 370,000 people and serves more than 20 million veterans, has problems modernizing with its inefficient crisis management system.

David Shulkin, who was dismissed by the president on Wednesday, breaks down at a critical juncture with major decisions about the future of veteran health care and their health-care systems in the starting blocks.

Jackson has served as the White House Doctor for the last three administrations and is active Rear Admiral in the Navy, but has little management experience

This has led to a subdued public reaction on Capitol Hill and to private concerns that Trumps Election of Jackson, a man who has the sympathy of the President and is in the White House since 2006 who is the right person for the job.

Senior senators on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Georgia Chairman Johnny Isakson, and senior member Jon Tester from Montana had little public say about the president's election. In separate statements, Isakson said he was looking forward to "learning more about him," and Tester said he wanted to find out if Jackson was "for the job."

Chris Lu, who served as liaison to former President Barack Obama's Cabinet, told CNN, "VA is not only the nation's largest healthcare system, but also benefits millions of veterans and their family members It's a massive management job, like a doctor like Ronny Jackson Maybe he brings less management experience to this job than any former VA secretary. "

A former president's spokesman declined to comment on Trump's decision, Jackson to nominate.

Jackson's views on some of the most pressing issues the department remains unknown to, especially in the debate over the admission of veterans more access to private physicians outside the VA health care system. Around a third of veterans already see private doctors, but the president and his allies are pushing for more private care, especially the group "Concerned Veterans for America," which is backed by the Koch brothers' billionaires.

The group did not mention this by Jackson in a press release after his nomination was announced. Shulkin had made "significant progress in the reform of the department, but eventually to a distraction".

Asked about how Jackson is qualified to oversee the medical care of US veterans, a White House official told CNN on Wednesday that Jackson would bring both with him medical and military backgrounds as well as praise for his work in previous governments.

Corey Lewandowski, Trump's former campaign manager, said on CNN's "New Day" that former VA administrators with more experience would not get the job

"I think if you look back and look at the previous VA secretaries who are "Those who allegedly had management experience who came in saw catastrophes under their regime," Lewandowski.

Yet, one of Shulkin's harshest critics on Capitol Hill says Jackson could experience a bumpy ride.

Colorado's Republican Mike Coffman, one of the lawmakers who demanded Shulkin's removal, said CNN's "New Day" to be successful in VA should "clean the house" for Jackson.

"This is an organization more than half the size of the United States Army," Coffman said. "If he does not get hard, nothing will change."

When asked if Jackson believed he needed leadership experience, he said, "It certainly helps," but added that Shulkin was an experienced manager and failed at work. [1

96592002] "It's going to be tough," he added. "I'll be open with you, the odds are not with him."

Jackson's appearance at a lengthy, sometimes bitter, press conference on the president's health and cognitive fitness played a role in his appointment as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, a White House official told CNN.

The official said Trump liked the way Jackson treated reporters during the January meeting.

Apart from his experience, it is the struggle for privatization that could define Jackson's potential name.

In a fiery New York Times opus, Shulkin pointed to the political struggle as a factor in his impeachment, saying his achievements at the agency "intensify the ambitions of people who want to put VA health care in the hands of the private sector."

"The private sector, already endeavoring to provide adequate access to care in many communities, is ill prepared for the number and complexity of patients who would come from the closure or reduction of VA hospitals and clinics, in particular when it comes to the psychic needs of people drawn by the horrors of war, "Shulkin wrote.

The leaders of the veteran groups clamored on the election, saying they had not been consulted with the White House. Many of them had actually urged the White House to allow Shulkin to stay at work, even as the president's stance on Shulkin worsened.

"I have no idea what to expect, frankly," said Vietnam Veterans President John Rowan to CNN, adding that he was disappointed that President Shulkin had been recalled , – it could be worse.

"We were hoping that we would prevail, but at least he does not appoint any of these rabid privatization people, that's a plus," he said.

At AMVETS, Executive Director Joe Chenelly said that Trump's decision to drive out Shulkin and replace him with Jackson's efforts to reform and modernize VA "had led to a screeching stoppage."

"We see nothing in his biography that makes him fit to run," Chenelly told CNN, adding that his group "has a long way to support the candidate."

Veterans of Foreign Wars have this point in a statement on Thursday repeated and said Jackson's background has no experience with the veterans department or with veterans or the management of an organization the size of the agency, "the VFW will be monitoring the process of its approval by the Senate."

The group also praised Shulkin for supporting a crisis-ridden section the year before he took office, saying that under his tenure, the agency saw successes in "increased accountability and transparency" as a rejuvenated education package, and increased overall funding and investment patient satisfaction. "

Paul Rieckhoff, the head of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan of America, told CNN's" New Day "that replacing Shulkin's move would only add to the instability that VA already plagues, and notes that since his Returning from Iraq in 2004, three VA secretaries either resigned in scandal or were fired.

"The VA is a monster for any leader who tries to effectively manage. And when the transition happens, it's very disturbing for the VA's frontline personnel, it's very disturbing for the veterans who need care, "he said.

From Jackson, Rieckhoff added," he becomes a very have hard argument to convince people he's qualified. "

CNN's Jim Acosta, Annie Grayer and Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.

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