Published: Sat, June 09, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Trump signs veterans health bill, but fights bipartisan plan to fund it

Trump signs veterans health bill, but fights bipartisan plan to fund it

President Trump has signed the VA Mission Act into law, cementing the agency's plans to overhaul the Veterans Choice Program and other community health programs across the country.

The sweeping measure has bipartisan support and is part of an effort urged by Trump to improve wait times and care for millions of veterans.

The Veterans Choice Program originated in response to the VA wait time scandal during which VA leaders falsified wait times.

It allows veterans to see private doctors when they do not receive the treatment they expect, with the approval of a VA provider.

The Trump administration is seeking to pay for recent expansion of Veterans Affairs to private health care through recently increased budgetary caps, according to an administration official. "Creditors are calling them, they want their money".

Cassidy said in a press release that he is trying to push the VA to open up non-transplant care to more veterans. But he glosses over the fact that the private-sector program often takes longer to provide care than Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers.

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Across the board in the US , suicide rates were up 25.4 percent in that 17-year period. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the country, according to the report.

Last year, Trump signed into law the VA Accountability First Act, making it easier for VA employees to be fired if they provide inadequate care.

CNN reports critics of the legislation have argued that the changes are a major step toward privatizing VA's health care system, and that shifting billions of dollars outside VA and into the private sector could effectively bleed the department dry.

The VA Mission Act falls in line with the VA's organizational priorities related to health IT investments. Of that, $73.1 billion would go toward health care services for veterans. Many local veterans say it's about time.

Bergman sits on the VA Committee and Chairs the VA Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. 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.

"I have a dear friend who passed after waiting eight months for an appointment", said Lewis. "I will continue to work to provide veterans with the quality, efficient and timely services they need and have earned".

"When the agency agrees to fund new programs as it has done here, there is potential for far more veterans to use the system, whether it's inside VA or outside", Carter said. 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.

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