Trump signs law to expand veterans' private health care options

  • Trump signs law to expand veterans' private health care options

Trump signs law to expand veterans' private health care options

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. Some fear that allowing veterans this "unfettered" choice will open the door to a purposeful and preconceived divestment effort that runs along ideological fault lines and will erode VA's capacity to provide care as veterans increasingly opt for non-VA care.

The sweeping law, which was a priority for Mr. Trump, authorizes new health care programs for veterans and combines or overhauls several separate and sometimes competing private-care programs.

"I compared it to putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound", said Burch.

The challenge going forward is to regain the trust of many private health care providers who have had past difficulties in getting payment from the VA for care provided to veterans, Roe said.

Conservatives, including close Trump allies, publicly slammed the spending package and criticized Trump for signing it, and the administration has subsequently dug in against new spending and worked to claw existing spending back. However, the White House and the Republican congressional leadership both support securing funding for the VA expansion.

The legislation had the support of almost 40 major veterans groups, who in a letter before the bill passed the House described it as a "major step" toward the goal of ensuring timely and seamless health care for veterans.

Whether the VA Mission Act will be a panacea for all that ails the VA remains to be seen.

A Government Accountability Office report released this week found that despite the Choice program's guarantee of providing an appointment within 30 days, veterans waited an average of 51 to 64 days; the process took as long as 70 days. "Veterans are now empowered to have more control over their health care and more quality choices within their own communities".

At a White House ceremony on Wednesday, Trump signaled out U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., who joined the House Veterans Affairs Committee last month. "The decision of where you get your care will be, as it should be, between you, your doctor and the VA", he said.

"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. 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.

"The VA MISSION Act is great progress toward ensuring that veterans get more choice and the high level of care that they were promised when they put on a uniform in defense of our country becomes a reality for everybody".

He added, "You shouldn't have to ask Congress every year for money to take care of veterans". At The Washington Post, she has written about the federal workforce, state politics and government in Annapolis, Md., and in Richmond; local government in Fairfax County, Va. and the redevelopment of Washington and its neighborhoods.