Arlington, VA – Today the House Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing on legislative proposals that will reform the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) community care programs and the Veterans Choice Program. VA Secretary David Shulkin testified on the Veterans Coordinated Access & Rewarding Experiences Act (CARE Act), which would allow any veteran who faces a wait time that is not “a clinically acceptable period” to seek specialty care outside of the VA.
Concerned Veterans for America Policy Director Dan Caldwell issued the following comment:
“CVA agrees with VA Secretary Shulkin’s statement at today’s hearing that veterans need more choice in their health care through the VA. In the coming weeks, we hope that the House VA Committee will continue to improve its draft legislation to ensure that veterans are empowered with more control over their health care. We are grateful to Chairman Phil Roe for prioritizing this important issue and for taking feedback from the veteran community.”
The Veterans Choice Program, which was enacted under the 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 and has been implemented poorly. Despite emergency funding authorized by Congress and signed into law by President Trump earlier this year to keep the program afloat, the Choice Program is reported to run out of funds by the end of the year.
Along with eliminating the 30-day, 40-mile rule, Secretary Shulkin has supported creating a system that allows veterans to choose whether private sector or VA care is in their best interest.
CVA has advocated for sweeping choice reforms at the VA for years. In CVA’s Fixing Veterans Health Care Taskforce, the group advocates that veterans should have the option to take their earned health care benefits and use them to access care at the VA or in the private sector.