Arlington, VA – Today, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee passed the Caring for Our Veterans Act out of committee and onto the full Senate for a vote. Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) believes this bill does not go far enough in giving veterans the health care choice they deserve by keeping the VA as the bureaucratic middleman between veterans and their care.
Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) offered an amendment to the bill that would have made it easier for veterans to access care outside the VA, however it was voted down.
CVA Executive Director Dan Caldwell released the following statement:
“It’s disappointing that the Caring for Our Veterans Act passed out of committee without amendments that would have greatly improved the bill. This was a missed opportunity by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to truly put veterans and their needs first by empowering them with more options in their health care at the VA. We hope that there is an opportunity to improve this bill on the Senate floor or that the Senate ultimately moves alternative legislation.”
Last week, CVA voiced its support for the Veterans Empowerment Act which was introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO). The reform legislation would make greater strides in reforming the veterans’ health care system and allowing veterans access to medical care when and where they need it.
The Veterans Choice Program, which was enacted under the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act, was implemented in response to the wait list scandal of 2014. It was passed as a stop-gap measure and was never intended to be a permanent solution. The Choice Program has faced several issues and failed to give many veterans real choice in their health care.