Congress Votes to Fund Choice Program, Permanent Reform Still Needed
Arlington, VA – Today the House voted to continue funding the Veterans Choice Program through a $3.9 billion emergency spending package. The program, which allows veterans to receive care outside the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), was facing an urgent budget shortfall.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Policy Director Dan Caldwell issued the following statement:
“It’s good that the House has acted to fix the Choice Program budget shortfall to ensure that veterans using the program won’t experience any lapses in care. However, this solution is imperfect and the entire process has been dysfunctional.
“Secretary Shulkin should have been given the authority to simply shift existing VA funds into the Veterans Choice Program. Unfortunately, some organizations and elected officials used this as an opportunity to start an anti-choice campaign while pursuing unnecessary additional spending. At a critical moment, they jeopardized the ability of millions of veterans to retain access to the health care they need.
“We want to commend Chairman Roe for his tenacity in fighting for a solution and his longstanding commitment to improving access to care. Roe continues to be a champion for veterans, and we at CVA appreciate his tireless work.
“This entire situation underscores the need for permanent choice reform which removes the VA as the middleman. We look forward to working with Congress on legislation that addresses the clear need for expanded health care choice for veterans.”
The measure will now move to the Senate for consideration.