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Veterans Empowerment Act

The VA is failing to keep its promise to veterans and military families across the country. And due to the changing size and nature of the veteran population, the VA culture will only get worse if we don’t fix it now.

The Veterans Empowerment Act is the only VA reform proposal to address and mitigate the core problems at the VA. Introduced into the House of Representatives by Congressman Doug Lamborn, it would provide the type of reforms our heroes deserve – strengthening and preserving the VA while also allowing veterans access to care outside the VA system whenever they decide it is best.

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Help Put Veterans in Charge of Their Health Care

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The Veterans Empowerment Act would put veterans before the VA bureaucracy, make the VA a more patient-centered health-care provider, and allow the VA to focus on its key competencies of treating veterans with service connected injuries.

Sign your name to support the legislation and demand our heroes receive the health care choice, accountability, and access they deserve.


Why keep the VA health system intact at all and why not just transfer all veterans to the premium support plan?

The VHA has developed certain capabilities that are worth preserving. From prosthetics to mental health, the VA is a leader in certain areas of medicine that would be in the country’s best interest to maintain and possibly even to expand. By making the VA integrated health care system a government chartered non-profit organization, they can actually better focus on those capabilities.

Won’t offering veterans the choice to get private care outside the VA inevitably lead to the collapse of the VA health care system by causing most veterans to leave the system?

We believe that many veterans will still chose to use the independent VA health care system because of the VA’s specialization in treating certain conditions and because most plans offered through our premium support would provide most services through the independent VA health care system (which we rename the Veterans Accountable Care Organization- VACO) with no-cost sharing. Additionally, if the new, independent VA health care system uses the flexibility granted by its new nonprofit status to make changes that improve quality of care then it is likely more veterans will begin to use the VA health care system.

Why does the proposed premium support system force most veterans to pay out-of-pocket costs for private health care? Didn’t veterans earn free health care through their military service?

No, VA health care is a benefit, not an entitlement, like it is for retired military. There are no costs for service-connected disabilities. Veterans are already required to pay co-pays through the current VA health care system for certain non-service connected medical services. Cost-sharing is already in effect for retired military in their current system, TRICARE. Under the Veterans Empowerment Act, veterans who use the independent VACO will only have to pay the existing  copays or deductibles.

Why is the level of premium support different for each priority group of veterans? Why not just give all veterans the same level of premium support?

The VA health care system was originally created to serve service-connected disabled veterans. Additionally, the priority group system was created by Congress to ensure that those veterans with higher disability ratings received a higher priority for care within the VA health care system in addition to the higher levels of benefits associated with a higher disability rating. Therefore, in keeping with the principle of reorienting the VA health care system back towards its original mission of caring the veterans with service-connected disabilities, the proposed premium support plan bases its level of premium support based on level of disability, whether or not a veteran served in a combat zone, and financial need.

Why is CVA advocating kicking certain veterans out of the VA health care system?

All current enrollees will be grandfathered into new system with the same level of benefits. No veterans who are currently enrolled in the VA system will be kicked out of the system. However, the Veterans Empowerment Act proposes tightening eligibility requirements for new enrollees at a certain date in order to reorient the VA back towards its mission of providing care for service-connected disabled veterans.

Your fiscal modeling says this plan will save money for the VA. How?

Through the introduction of cost-sharing and tightening enrollment eligibility requirements. OMB has stated at the Commission on Care meetings that purchased care costs less than VHA provided care.

Isn’t the Veterans Empowerment Act just pushing veterans to the Obamacare exchanges?

No, eligible veterans would be able to purchase their plans through a menu of available insurance plans in their states that would be made available through the Veterans Health Insurance Program (VHIP). Veterans would not be forced to use or use a state or federally-run Obamacare exchange.

Why is there a phase-in of the VetsCare program for veterans in higher priority groups?

This was done in order to make sure that the program is implemented as smoothly as possible and to ensure that any implementation issues can be addressed with a fewer number of veterans within the system. This is also why theVeterans Empowerment Act would create an implementation commission to oversee the implementation of the recommended reforms.

How does the the Veterans Empowerment Act effect the relationship between the VA and DoD?

TheVeterans Empowerment Act does not in any way alter the relationship between the VA and DoD.

How does the Veterans Empowerment Act effect the disability system and the Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA)?

TheVeterans Empowerment Act does not address the disability system or the Veteran Benefit Administration.

Contact Your Representatives!

Be a voice for Veterans!

The VA treats too many men and women like numbers. With the Veterans Empowerment Act, veterans can finally receive the health care they earned and deserve.

Contact your representative to let them know it is time for real VA reform!