Arlington, VA – Today President Obama issued a letter in support of the Congressional Commission on Care’s recommendations for reforms at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which were issued in early July. Two of the recommendations the President opposed in his letter – allowing veterans to access a doctor outside of the VHA and the establishment of a board of directors to oversee VHA governance – were reforms that would be a step in the right direction for the VA.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Vice President of Policy and Communications Dan Caldwell issued the following statement:
“The Commission on Care’s recommendations fail to move the Department of Veterans Affairs from a VA-centric model to a veteran-centric model. Leaving the VA as the primary gatekeeper to accessing private health care means denying veterans who use the VA true health care choice. By supporting the Commission’s recommendations, President Obama is once again demonstrating that he is not serious about fundamentally reforming the bureaucracy at the VA.”
The Commission on Care was mandated by Congress and completed its work on August 6. CVA responded to the Commission’s final report, calling it a “missed opportunity” that would “fail to bring about the changes necessary” to truly fixing the VA.
On September 7, the House Veterans Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the Commission on Care and the future of veterans health care. CVA will submit written testimony in dissent of the Commission’s recommendations.
CVA supports reforms that would truly empower veterans with choice, such as the Caring for our Heroes in the 21st Century Act – draft legislation recently proposed by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).