Arlington, VA — Today, President Trump and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin addressed the American Legion National Convention in Reno, Nevada.
Secretary Shulkin reaffirmed his commitment to common-sense VA reforms like shutting down empty or under-utilized facilities and holding bad employees accountable for their actions with the authority invested in him by the new VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017. Shulkin also addressed the need for expanding veterans’ health care choice, and specifically indicated that he would look to eliminate the “30-day, 40-mile” rule in the Veterans Choice Program.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Policy Director Dan Caldwell issued the following statement:
“The Trump administration has demonstrated a commitment to helping veterans through common-sense reforms, and they have made significant strides in the past few months. The President has signed into law several critical pieces of legislation that will empower veterans with the opportunity to succeed after their service and improve the care they receive at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 is a historic law which weakened the grasp unions had on the VA and will allow Secretary Shulkin to get bad employees out of the department quickly.
“The fight to fix the VA is far from over and there is more work to be done. Too many veterans are struggling to get care from the VA, and that needs to change as soon as possible. Every veteran should have the choice to use their health care benefits in the private sector, especially if the VA is unable to provide them with quality care in a timely manner. We urge Congress to empower veterans with the ability to access care outside of the VA when they want to or need to.”
Since taking office, President Trump has signed several pieces of important VA reform legislation — including the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, the “Forever” GI Bill, and emergency funding for the Veterans Choice Program. The President campaigned on a 10-point VA reform plan, which included VA accountability and expanding veterans’ health care choice.
CVA supports permanent choice legislation that will empower veterans, control costs effectively, allow for innovative testing, and increase transparency at the VA.