Published: Sat, June 09, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

Trump signs new VA bill

Trump signs new VA bill

Trump signs the "VA Mission Act of 2018" in the Rose Garden.

Trump is nominating acting VA secretary Robert Wilkie to permanently lead the government's second-largest department, which serves 9 million veterans. Now only veterans who endure waits of at least 30 days - not nine days - for an appointment at a VA facility are eligible to receive care from private doctors at government expense.

"On the anniversary of D-Day, we're reminded of the sacrifices of our courageous veterans and that we owe our service members a debt that can never be repaid".

In pressing for the reform, Trump said veterans should be able to access private care whenever they are dissatisfied with VA options.

"It will give those of us who are veterans, and especially the newer veterans coming back, the care that they need", said Lewis. Some fear that allowing veterans this "unfettered" choice will open the door to a purposeful and preconceived divestment effort that runs along ideological fault lines and will erode VA's capacity to provide care as veterans increasingly opt for non-VA care.

Bergman sits on the VA Committee and Chairs the VA Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

THE FACTS: The care provided under the Choice private-sector program is not as immediate as Trump suggests, nor does it always work out much better.

The number of in-hospital complications and adverse events following surgeries remains a concern for the scandal-ridden Phoenix-area veterans health system, according to a new government report. VA has said its medical facilities are "often 40 percent better in terms of wait times" compared with the private sector. Experts generally agree that VA care is less costly due to economies of scale. He said that consolidating the multiple private care programs that exist now should control the new bill's costs.

The Community Care Program, which was created by the Mission Act, accounts for $14.2 billion of the president's VA budget. Dunn's proposal would give veterans needing organ transplants more access, allowing those who live 100 miles or more from VA transplant centers have their procedures done at other medical facilities though it would need to be federally certified and cover Medicare patients. The care will be judged by its timeliness, effectiveness, safety, and efficiency.

He added, "You shouldn't have to ask Congress every year for money to take care of veterans".

"I think this will make it an easier process", said Quincy native Jack Wingerter, 66, a 27-year Navy veteran who now lives in Belleville.

"When the agency agrees to fund new programs as it has done here, there is potential for far more veterans to use the system, whether it's inside VA or outside", Carter said.

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