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President Trump Signs Bill Expanding Private Care for Veterans

09 June 2018

The bill will expand private care for veterans as an alternative to the troubled Veterans Affairs health system.

President Trump says, "If they're waiting in line for nine days, and they can't see a doctor, why aren't they going outside to see a doctor and take care of themselves, and we pay the bill?" President Trump's administration has lobbied Republicans to get the funding by cutting other spending.

"Although it is hard to quantify the risk of patient harm, the findings in this report may help facilities identify areas of vulnerability or conditions that, if properly addressed, could improve patient safety and health care quality", the report said. The reforms will be bolstered by $5.2 billion in federal funding to prevent interruption of access to needed care for the nation's military veterans. Jim Wingerter, a former Marine who spent time in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, said easier access to health care for veterans is important.

Shelby is joined in his effort by the top Appropriations Committee Democrat, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, as well as the leaders of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, Chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Sen. Trump also neglects to mention that the White House is opposing a plan to fund the newly expanded Choice program, which could see escalating costs as more veterans seek the flexibility of picking their own doctors.

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"If we implement this bill as Congress has written it, this legislation will be transformational to the VA", Roe, R-1st, of Johnson City, said.

TRUMP: "In the campaign, I also promised that we would fight for Veterans Choice".

Acting VA Secretary Peter O'Rourke released a statement after the bill's signing. This ambitious legislation will also set new standards in how providers are paid, provide continuing medical education for non-VA medical professionals, improve opioid prescribing practices, and sanction a VA asset and infrastructure review that will force legislators to contemplate the closure of costly, underused facilities in their districts.

For years, the Department of Veterans Affairs has been plagued by concerns over inadequate and slow care for veterans.

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The legislation would loosen Choice's restrictions that limit outside care to only when a veteran must wait 30 days for an appointment or drive more than 40 miles to a VA facility.

The VA system structure is now based on the way medical services were provided from the 1960s to the 1980s, he said. Of that, $73.1 billion would go toward health care services for veterans.

In previous months, critics and other healthcare stakeholders have called for improvements to the Veterans Choice Program, citing enrollment errors, exceptionally long wait times, and a convoluted referral process that hinders patient access to care.

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President Trump Signs Bill Expanding Private Care for Veterans