Trump to sign bill expanding private care for veterans

Trump signs VA reform bill without Democratic co-author

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President Trump on Wednesday signed the VA Missions Act of 2018 after the U.S. Senate passed the legislation last week by a vote of 92 to 5.

The sweeping measure has bipartisan support and is part of an effort urged by Trump to improve wait times and care for millions of veterans. More importantly, the veterans who will place their lives in the hands of medical providers and healthcare networks under the VA Mission Act need to see real evidence that the nation they defended truly and meaningfully thanks them for their service.

"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".

The bill will streamline the Veterans Choice Program and VA community care programs to ensure that veterans are able to gain access to proper healthcare when and where they need it, as well when the VA is unable to provide it.

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Supporters call it a sweeping, historic move created to get veterans the care they need, but as Washington Correspondent Alana Austin reports, some worry more is less.

Situations covered under the VA Mission Act of 2018, which grants veterans access to private care, include situations in which the VA does not offer the care a veteran needs, the distance to a VA clinic is too far, or private care is in the best medical interest of the veteran.

Roe, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, has high hopes for the bill and noted the broad support base involved in drafting the new law during a media conference call Thursday.

The VA Mission Act also gets rid of restriction limiting private and community care to veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility or have to wait more than 30 days for an appointment. "By increasing transparency in opioid prescribing, we can identify abuse patterns and ensure our veterans are getting the best possible care".

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The legislation had the support of almost 40 major veterans groups, who in a letter before the bill passed the House described it as a "major step" toward the goal of ensuring timely and seamless health care for veterans. A group of senators is seeking to pay for the law by adding new funds to cover the VA private care program, but the White House has been quietly working to block that plan, saying it is "anathema to responsible spending".

The VA system structure is now based on the way medical services were provided from the 1960s to the 1980s, he said. "But it is not the most cost effective way to take care of our veterans".

The VA Mission Act falls in line with the VA's organizational priorities related to health IT investments.

He added, "You shouldn't have to ask Congress every year for money to take care of veterans". "Medical decisions should be made between a doctor and their patient, and that is exactly what this bill does".

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