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Past Event

Former VA Secretary David Shulkin: It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Serve Your Country

The Veterans Health Administration is the nation’s largest integrated health care system, yet almost 2 million veterans and 3.8 million of their family members are without health insurance today. David Shulkin was brought in by President Obama to clean up the Veterans Affairs’ (VA) troubled hospital network after a major scandal. His success led President Trump to name him VA secretary, making him the highest ranking official to serve both presidents and the only Trump cabinet secretary to earn unanimous Senate approval. Born on an Army base, Shulkin was the first nonveteran to hold the position. 

Shulkin introduced substantial changes to the VA system, with bold moves that dramatically reduced wait times, increased transparency, enhanced accountability and tackled veteran suicide rates. His efforts earned early praise from Republicans and Democrats alike. But Shulkin says he ran headlong into Trump associates intent on privatizing the VA and eventually was ousted.

In his new book, Shulkin opens up about his time as VA secretary and the ruthless political appointees he says he encountered. Since leaving government in early 2018, Shulkin has continued to shed light on VA privatization and his concerns on how it will impact our ability to ensure health care for those who have fought to protect the nation.


Shulkin photo by Rod Evans

January 15, 2020

The Commonwealth Club
110 The Embarcadero
Taube Family Auditorium
San Francisco, 94105
United States

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David Shulkin

M.D., MBA, Former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs; Author, It Shouldn't Be This Hard to Serve Your Country: Our Broken Government and the Plight of Veterans

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In Conversation with Mark Zitter

Chair, The Zetema Project; Member, Board of Governors, The Commonwealth Club


11 a.m. check-in
noon program
1 p.m. book signing