On Wednesday, President Donald Trump plans to sign legislation to temporarily extend the $10 billion Choice program until its money runs out, pending the administration's plan due out by fall.
President Donald Trump talks about the Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act before signing it, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. The program was scheduled to expire on August 7 with almost $1 billion left over.
The president added that the bill lets waiting veterans see "the doctor of their choice" and avoid having to travel long distances to get care. Trump specifically thanked Senator John McCain and Senator Johnny Isakson for their work on the bill, as well as Rep. Phil Roe, the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. "We will fight each and every day to deliver the long-awaited reforms our veterans deserve and to protect those who have so courageously protected each and every one of us".
We must never go back to the pre-scandal days where a VA bureaucrat had the final say as to where and when a veteran got their health care.
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Mr. Obama fired his first VA secretary, Eric Shinseki, in the wake of the scandal in 2014.
The program is meant to provide more timely care by allowing veterans to go outside the VA network only in cases where they had to wait more than 30 days for an appointment or drive more than 40 miles to a facility.
It's a fix that hasn't fixed much, but the troubled Veterans Choice program has been extended anyway. "Congress now has some time to work with Shulkin on broader, more permanent choice reforms". "And I think we'll get more providers jumping on board, and we'll get more veterans using it, if the time to set up those appointments is reduced dramatically". Please support our efforts.
Conservatives calling for privatization say the VA provides medical services to only about 45 percent of veterans, and they point to delays and inefficiencies dogging the current system. Shulkin said last month that the looming expiration had already been affecting veterans' appointments in cases when they were scheduling procedures months in advance.