“The VA was not built for the VA; the VA was built for the veteran.”
CVA Executive Director Russ Duerstine joined House VA Committee Chairman Bost in his home district in southern Illinois to discuss their veterans’ perspectives on VA health care, principles of VA reform, and what the House VA Committee is focused on.
The law is not a suggestion
That unique perspective is why Bost, with a deep family history of service in the Marine Corps, has supported health care choice legislation in the past. It’s also why he is holding the VA accountable for upholding choice going forward.
“When we passed the MISSION Act, which was an improvement of the Choice Act, it was to hopefully get the VA to understand that this isn’t a suggestion. It’s a law.” Bost told Duerstine. “I’m supportive of making sure it’s up to the veteran on what care they receive, because that’s the agreement.”
The VA MISSION Act expanded access to community care for veterans who receive health care benefits through the VA. But the VA has stood in the way of the law’s success since it was passed and implemented. Bost shared that part of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s job is to oversee the VA’s implementation of the law and hold the VA accountable when it fails to follow the law.
Veterans should be in charge of where they seek their health care. That’s the bottom line.
Oversight and accountability work
The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee is focused on an array of veterans’ issues, including greater choice in care, implementation of the PACT Act, and accountability for continued failures and missteps at the VA.
“We still have the electronic health records issue that’s going on,” Bost shared. “We put the freeze on it for right now with some guarantee that [the VA will] get it right before we ever kick it back in so nobody’s in danger.”
Rep. Bost and his committee have a lot of work on their hands, but we at CVA are excited about the chairman’s commitment to ensuring the VA works for the veteran, not for itself.
Want more Congress Convos? Check out our conversation with Sen. Marsha Blackburn on her Veterans Health Care Freedom Act.