After campaigning on the issue of veterans' care that dogged former President Barack Obama for most of his tenure, Mr. Trump signed a reauthorization of the Veterans Choice Act and announced that he'll devote a press conference to veterans issues next week at the White House.
Although the program is now limited to the Phoenix area, the collaboration is a test-run of sorts as VA Secretary David Shulkin mulls an overhaul proposal aimed at reducing veterans' wait times. The new law allows the VA to operate its Choice program until its funding runs out, expected early next year.
Extension of the "Veterans Choice" program could worry Democrats and other critics that Trump and Shulkin are inching toward sending some of the $65.6 billion the department spends annually on medical care to corporations and private businesses.
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"The Veterans Choice Program cuts red tape so veterans can access care more quickly", Tester said. They said that will give the VA time to propose a more comprehensive package of reforms - fixes for the fix.
The Choice Program is a start, but the CVA is eager for more "permanent solutions".
"Since Congress passed legislation creating the Veterans Choice Program, more than a million veterans have made seven million appointments with hundreds of thousands of health care providers in their own communities using the Choice Card".
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"This is a great day to celebrate not only what veterans have contributed to the country, but how we're making things better for them", says Shulkin.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he will hold a news conference on April 27 to discuss veterans issues, as he tries to elevate an issue he campaigned on heavily a year ago. He said those appointments would have otherwise "lagged" in the VA scheduling system.
A consolidated and integrated network of community providers is critical for the VA to reduce the burden on those who have sacrificed for their nation and are seeking access to the care they earned through the VA. Congress will work to make certain the VA strikes the right balance - delivering on our nation's commitment to our veterans to provide access to healthcare when and where a veteran needs it. "We have a long way to go to fully reform veterans' health care, but today's legislation is an important first step in that effort". No veteran should worry they won't be able to get the care they need.
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Tester is the primary sponsor of the bill that amends the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014.