Trump is to sign the Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act. The program was scheduled to expire on August 7 with almost $1 billion left over. This legislation ensures we keep that promise as we continue the hard work of fully reforming the VA and enhancing health care for all veterans.
In an interview Sunday on C-SPAN, Shulkin said he was working with Congress on a legislative fix to the program that he expected to introduce publicly this fall. "Congress now has some time to work with Shulkin on broader, more permanent choice reforms".
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"Veterans in need of routine health care services should not have to wait in line for weeks to get an appointment when they can visit community health centers like MinuteClinic to receive timely and convenient care", he said. The bill, which passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate, eliminates a sunset provision in the VA Choice Program and allows continued care until funds for the program are used. Yet the program itself often encountered long wait times of its own.
Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R- Florida, called for the president to take up reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs in the GOP's weekly video addr...
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Though the Choice Program has much room for improvement, and growing pains have certainly accompanied the law's expedited implementation, it has improved access to healthcare for our nation's veterans.
The new pilot program was announced Tuesday.
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. This represents millions of appointments that would have otherwise lagged in the VA's scheduling system for everything from routine check-ups and diagnostic tests to life saving heart and cancer treatment.
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.
McCain, a Navy veteran, said the extension "sends an important message that we will not send our veterans back to the status quo of unending wait-times for appointments and substandard care".