Speaker Kirk Cox Attends White House Signing Ceremony For VA Reforms
Jun 09 2018 by Kathy Alvarado
This week, President Donald Trumpsigned the "John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka, and Samuel R. Johnson VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Networks Act" (VA MISSION Act) into law and a freshman congressman from North Florida's fingerprints are all over it.
"We're allowing our veterans to get access to the best medical care available, whether it's at the VA or at a private provider", Trumpsaid at Wednesday's signing ceremony. "So simple and yet so complex".
Jack Wingerter thinks the United States has always been one of the worst countries in many areas of health care, specifically citing availability for senior citizens and veterans, but he feels there may be some light at the end of the tunnel. "We have a responsibility to provide our Veterans with the care they deserve, while also being good stewards of the taxpayer dollar", the administration said in a statement.
"The Congressional Budget Office has not done a good job projecting how much private care costs because VA doesn't share its data and often doesn't collect it, so you can't make an accurate prediction", acknowledged Dan Caldwell, executive director of Concerned Veterans for America, a White House-allied group backed by the conservative industrialists Charles and David Koch that has led the push for veterans to decide where to get their medical care and from whom. "That is why I am so proud to join the President as he signed the bipartisan VA MISSION Act into law in order to improve the care that our nation's veterans receive", said Heller.
Limited money for the program could also hamper its effectiveness.
"So it's now my great honor to sign the great VA Mission Act, or as we all know it, the Choice Act".
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The government will have to pay interest if its bill is not paid in an allotted time period, the congressman said. This choice provides flexibility for veterans to use the VA or private sector health providers.
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. "Our historic law gets rid of the government bureaucracy that has stood between Montana veterans and their health care".
The $51 billion measure builds on legislation passed in 2014 in response to a scandal at the Phoenix VA medical center, where some veterans died while waiting months for appointments.
However, the Choice Program has faced its own set of obstacles.
The VA Mission Act extends the VA's caregiver program to all veterans as it initially only catered to former warfighters recognized after the 9/11 incident.