Arlington, VA — Today the House of Representatives will vote on a legislative solution put forth by the House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC) which would solve the Veterans Choice Program budget shortfall. The bill would create additional funds for the choice program, which would be offset by continuing existing fees within other VA programs and reforming certain VA pensions.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) is urging veterans and concerned citizens across the country to contact their legislators in favor of saving the Veterans Choice Program.
CVA Executive Director Mark Lucas issued the following statement:
“The Veterans Choice Program isn’t perfect, but many veterans depend on it to access care in the private sector when the VA fails them. Chairman Roe’s proposal to quickly solve the program’s budget shortfall is pragmatic, fiscally responsible and will prevent lapses in care in upcoming weeks. Opponents of this measure are transparently using this situation as an opportunity to advance their own anti-choice agenda instead of doing what’s best for veterans. It’s critical that Congress take decisive action to keep the choice program afloat until more permanent choice reforms are in place and we urge elected officials to vote in favor of the House solution today.”
The Veterans Choice Program, which was enacted under Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act, was intended as a temporary solution to the wait list scandal of 2014. The Program was flawed — allowing veterans to only receive care at VA-approved facilities if they meet the “30-day, 40-mile” rule, for example — and has been implemented poorly.
CVA has proposed the creation of a government-chartered non-profit to oversee the traditional VA medical system in addition to creating a veterans health insurance program that would offer all veterans at the VA the ability to access care in the private sector. These proposals would empower veterans to use these benefits at his or her own discretion – inside or outside of the VA.