Trump Signed the Mission Act. Now the Real Work Begins

President Trump signs bill to give veterans expanded access to private health care options

President Trump signs bill to give veterans expanded access to private health care options

Cassidy said in a press release that he is trying to push the VA to open up non-transplant care to more veterans. The law calls for billions for new programs to provide private care, but does not outline how they will be funded.

At a Rose Garden event at the White House, Trump praised the legislation as fulfilling his pledge to fix the Department of Veterans Affairs by bringing accountability and providing private care to veterans whenever they feel unhappy with government-run health care.

The bill replaces the Veterans Choice Program, which, although popular and effective for many vets, was plagued with funding problems, leaving vets to foot the bill for their care from private providers.

"I compared it to putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound", said Burch. The VA MISSION Act addresses these shortcomings and will provide rural Veterans the flexibility needed to receive the care they've rightfully earned. Of critical importance to PVA, the MISSION Act will finally expand the VA Comprehensive Family Caregiver Program to those veterans injured prior to September 11, 2001. "This is a truly meaningful victory for our nation's veterans, who will benefit from more choice and fewer barriers to care".

The VA spending fight could come to a head as soon as this week, as lawmakers prepare to take up a military construction and VA appropriations bill that the bipartisan group of chairmen want to use to fund the VA Mission Act's program. The new, bipartisan measure consolidates numerous private-care programs that were fragmented and inefficient and drew support from disparate veterans groups that often disagree.

The Veterans Choice Program originated in response to the VA wait time scandal during which VA leaders falsified wait times.


Pointing to faulty data, government investigators said the VA "cannot determine whether the Choice program has helped to achieve the goal of alleviating veterans' wait times for care".

"It's getting better and better", he said.

At a White House ceremony on Wednesday, Trump signaled out U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., who joined the House Veterans Affairs Committee last month. Currently, more than 30 percent of VA appointments are in the private sector.

While the VA Choice Program was meant to provide Veterans with flexibility in receiving care, its results were far from acceptable. The care will be judged by its timeliness, effectiveness, safety, and efficiency. That overhaul will take at least 10 years to be complete.

Phillip Carter, a senior researcher at the Rand Corp., a nonprofit think tank, said the bill creates another unanswered question on cost: It could push up the demand for medical care at VA hospitals as the pressure on them eases with more outside appointments.

Story by Erica Werner and Lisa Rein.

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