Trump signs bill to expand private care at troubled VA

Henrietta Brewer
June 9, 2018

The VA Mission Act, signed into law by the president on Wednesday, creates a new program that allows veterans to seek private care. He emphasized how crucial it was for veterans to have choice within their medical care. That's when a TV news investigation found that veterans were waiting so long for care that in some cases they were dying before they ever were seen by a doctor.

Dunn's VICTOR Act gives veterans who need organ transplants more choices in their medical care.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's office confirmed Ryan (R., Wis.) agrees with the White House that the new veterans programs should be paid for with existing funds, rather than increasing spending.

TRUMP: "My administration has also taken action to ensure veterans can seamlessly transition their medical records from the Department of Defense into the VA. ..."

In pressing for the reform, Trump said veterans should be able to access private care whenever they are dissatisfied with VA options.

"With President Trump, we took a big step in improving care and choice for our veterans". The new, bipartisan measure consolidates numerous private-care programs that were fragmented and inefficient and drew support from disparate veterans groups that often disagree. "I will continue to fight to improve care and fix the VA through my work on the committee". There is no reliable estimate and little research to determine how much taxpayers pay for a private medical appointment versus one inside VA's system of 1,300 clinics and hospitals. While the VA Choice Program was meant to provide Veterans with flexibility in receiving care, its results were far from acceptable.

Foremost, the law funds and updates the Veterans Choice Program, which connects veterans to third-party treatment outside of the VA when VA care would otherwise be unattainable or exceed a 30-day wait period.

The bill's passage into law is a part of Congress' efforts to do right by the nation's veterans, according to Isakson, the Senate bill sponsor.

But traditional veterans groups, which oppose what they are suspicious is a White House strategy to privatize VA, were adamant Tuesday that if the spending caps aren't raised, the agency could be forced to take money from other valuable veterans' benefits to ensure that veterans have access to health care. A congressional commission in 2016 determined that giving veterans more flexibility to see doctors outside the VA system would probably increase costs, due in part to growing demand from veterans who are drawn by the idea of picking their own doctor.

The House Veterans' Affairs Committee passed Dunn's "Veterans Opioid Abuse Prevention Act" without opposition back in May.

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