Trump Signs Bill Expanding Private Care Options for Veterans

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"Many, many veterans and their families as a result of this bill will certainly live a much, much better life", said Haynes.

"You shouldn't have to ask Congress every year for money to take care of veterans, said John Hoellwarth, communications director for AMVETS, one of the country's major veterans groups".

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

He said for veterans who have been standing "in line for weeks and weeks" seeking care at VA, "now they can go see a doctor". House Democrats had sought restrictions on the commission but were rebuffed by House Republicans and the White House.

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"The President's 2019 Budget supports a new, consolidated community care program for veterans and all of VA health care within the discretionary caps already in place".

The act establishes standards for veterans to consult with the private sector for "timely and effective care".

"I was proud to stand alongside President Trump today as he signed into law the VA MISSION ACT which has been one of my top priorities on the VA Committee since taking office". The new, bipartisan measure consolidates numerous private-care programs that were fragmented and inefficient and drew support from disparate veterans groups that often disagree.

The 51 billion dollar bill is an extension of the "Choice" program which was created after the 2014 wait list scandal at veterans hospitals across the country.

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Pointing to faulty data, government investigators said the VA "cannot determine whether the Choice program has helped to achieve the goal of alleviating veterans' wait times for care".

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 VA system structure is now based on the way medical services were provided from the 1960s to the 1980s, he said.

"It's getting better and better", he said. The care will be judged by its timeliness, effectiveness, safety, and efficiency. 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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Additionally, the VA Mission Act aims to ensure that veterans have access to care from non-VA providers, including coverage of urgent care. "That's what the White House and Congress have to reconcile themselves to, demand going up overall and costing more". Lisa Rein covers federal agencies and the management of government in the Trump adminstration.

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