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ICYMI: CVA on Omission of VA Reforms from Omnibus Spending Package

By Chris Neefus

ICYMI: CVA on Omission of VA Reforms from Omnibus Spending Package

**Exec. Director Dan Caldwell says reforms were omitted to deny a win for Trump administration at the expense of veterans.
**Caldwell: Funding increases at VA pour more money into failing health-care system.

Arlington, Va. – Concerned Veterans for America Executive Director Dan Caldwell appeared on FOX & Friends this morning and lamented that long-needed reforms to veterans health care were omitted from the omnibus spending package after closed-door negotiations. The grassroots group was already disappointed with the $1.3 trillion bill, filled with special interest giveaways, but reforms to break down barriers between the VA and community health care providers could have been a positive item in the package. Caldwell said the omission was perhaps an effort to deny a win for the Trump administration at the expense of veterans who urgently need better access to timely, quality care.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE: https://youtu.be/FTOpVlhEN-w

Highlights from Caldwell’s interview:

On increasing VA spending by $7B:  “You mentioned how this bill increases spending on the VA, but it’s just dumping more money into the VA’s failed, government-run health care system without actually reforming the core problems that are driving all these issues at the VA…That’s the problem here is that it’s spending more money without reforms.”

On why the reforms were omitted from the omnibus:  “This is simply about denying President Trump a political win at the expense of veterans, and it is incredibly disappointing because you had so many people come together and put together a compromise solution that we think would really help veterans.”  

On next steps for VA reform:We hope that [the reforms move] as a separate bill because this absolutely needs to happen. Right now as we speak, there are hundreds of thousands of veterans across the country that use the VA who are waiitng 30 days or more, sometimes up to 90-120 days for basic medical care, and that’s unacceptable, so we need these reforms. They are overwhelmingly supported by the veteran community…and yet you have some Democrats in the House who are just trying to score political points here.”

Concerned Veterans for America will continue pressing for these reforms, including clear eligibility standards for accessing community care, in a separate legislative vehicle as soon as possible.

CVA recently held a major event on Capitol Hill, “Vets on the Hill,” flying in a dozen grassroots leaders from state chapters across the country and holding about 100 meetings with members of Congress. The group is working to expand health care choices for veterans through legislation like the Veterans Community Care and Access Act (S. 2184) and the Veterans Empowerment Act (H.R. 4457). View last week’s press conference on the event here.

BACKGROUND

CVA has recently been urging Congress to take action on legislation to stabilize the VA health care system so that Congress can move on to broader structural improvements to the Veterans Health Administration. The group has expressed strong support for the Veterans Community Care and Access Act of 2017, introduced by Senators Jerry Moran and John McCain. 

The grassroots group also recently praised the White House for making several strong recommendations on how to reform the VA’s choice and community care programs – including creating clearer standards for when and how veterans can access care through community providers. 

CVA Applauds White House for Support of More Health Care Choices for Veterans (cv4a.org, 24 Jan 2018). 

For years, CVA has advocated for substantial health care reforms at the VA. 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.

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