ARLINGTON, Va.—Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Executive Director Russ Duerstine issued a statement following Sunday’s announcement that Speaker McCarthy and President Biden have agreed on a plan to reduce federal spending and raise the debt ceiling.
Russ Duerstine, CVA’s Executive Director, had this to say about the agreement:
“CVA urges members of Congress to not make veterans political pawns in debt limit debates. Veterans need more health care options, not lies about the VA budget. Republican lawmakers have made it clear they aren’t here to play political football with veterans’ lives. It is past time democrats get on board and focus on the legislative solutions on the table right now to improve veterans’ health care. Specifically, the Veterans’ HEALTH Act of 2023 and the Veterans Health Care Freedom Act would remove bureaucratic barriers to veterans’ health care choice, improve community care, and put veterans in charge of their own health care. Lawmakers who claim to care about veterans’ wellbeing will support these commonsense bills to improve veterans’ lives today.”
The Veterans Health Care Freedom Act sponsored by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) and Rep. Andy Biggs (Ariz.) would create a pilot program to provide eligible veterans full health care choice. It would remove the bureaucratic barriers many veterans face in accessing health care closer to home or at higher quality facilities in their local communities by eliminating the current requirement to receive pre-authorization from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Four years after enactment, the pilot program would be expanded permanently nationwide.
The Veterans’ HEALTH Act of 2023 sponsored by Sen. Jerry Moran (Kan.) and co-sponsored by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) would protect the health care choices millions of veterans have come to rely on since the enactment of the VA MISSION Act, requiring the VA to better support access to community care, be more transparent on wait times, ease scheduling for veterans, and drive better access to telehealth.