Politics House votes to expand veterans' access to private care

02:36  17 may  2018
02:36  17 may  2018 Source:   cnn.com

Senate sends major VA reform bill to Trump's desk

  Senate sends major VA reform bill to Trump's desk The Senate easily cleared legislation on Wednesday overhauling medical care options for veterans, sending the bill to President Trump's desk.Senators voted 92-5 on the proposal, termed the VA Mission Act, with only a simple majority needed to pass the bill. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Mike Rounds ( R-S.D.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) voted against the legislation.With its passage, the bill will meet Trump's public deadline and arrive on his desk before Congress departs for a week-long Memorial Day recess. The bill passed the House last week in a 347-70 vote.

The vote was 100-0. "We [expected] it to pass with broad support from both sides of the aisle," she said. It calls on the VA to provide veterans access to non-VA health care when the Jeff Miller, R-Florida, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and then committee ranking member Rep.

WASHINGTON — The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved legislation to expand veterans ’ access to health care , acting on bipartisan The 420-to-5 vote sends the bill to the Senate, where final passage is all but assured before Congress leaves Friday for a five-week summer recess.

The US Capitol dome and it's reflection are seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on December 29, 2012. As the fiscal cliff deadline looms, Congress and the White House have still not reached a compromise. If no deal is struck by December 31 at midnight, taxes will automatically go up on both high earners and the middle class, and across-the-board spending cuts will go into effect. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images) © KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images The US Capitol dome and it's reflection are seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on December 29, 2012. As the fiscal cliff deadline looms, Congress and the White House have still not reached a compromise. If no deal is struck by December 31 at midnight, taxes will automatically go up on both high earners and the middle class, and across-the-board spending cuts will go into effect. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

House lawmakers on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed legislation expanding veterans' access to private care at taxpayer expense, a campaign promise of President Donald Trump, and adding more money to the "Choice program" weeks before VA officials said it could run out of money.

Millions of vets get VA-funded private-sector care through program set to run out of money

  Millions of vets get VA-funded private-sector care through program set to run out of money New data shows more than one million veterans annually are relying on a program to get VA-funded private sector medical care, but the program could run out of money in two weeks if Congress doesn't act.Populous states with large veteran populations like Texas, California, Florida and Arizona notched the highest numbers of veterans who have used the so-called Choice program since it was created in 2014 after veterans died waiting for medical care at the Phoenix VA hospital.

The House of Representatives voted unanimously on Tuesday to give thousands of veterans emergency access to private care to address a crisis that has embarrassed the Obama administration and worried lawmakers in the run-up to November's mid-term elections.

- White House . - Become A Contributor. Video. "We look forward to continued dialogue with Veterans and our partners to help us ensure continued improvements for Veterans ’ access to care .”

The $51 billion plan that passed 347-70 Wednesday includes $5.2 billion for the VA Choice program that funds private care. VA officials have warned that the program could run out of money as early as the end of the month, disrupting care for patients.

Hours before the House vote, Trump weighed in, urging lawmakers to back the bill.

"House votes today on Choice/MISSION Act," Trump tweeted on Wednesday. "Who will stand with our Great Vets, caregivers, and Veterans Service Organizations? Must get Choice passed by Memorial Day!"

A similar plan almost became law as part of the omnibus spending bill in March, but was blocked by some Democrats concerned about privatization of services for the nation's veterans.

There has been a long simmering debate about the extent to which veterans obtain care in the private sector. Many veterans groups say they don't want to see too many resources shifted outside the VA, a move they say would fundamentally bleed the health system dry.

The legislation is moving forward in Congress as the sprawling agency remains without a permanent leader after Trump ousted former Secretary David Shulkin and the nomination of Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the White House physician, unraveled amid allegations about his professional conduct.

It would also launch a review of VA facilities with an eye toward closing under-performing institutions and would expand a VA caregivers program to cover the families of pre-9/11 veterans.

CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Palin's son seeks to bar media in assault proceedings .
The eldest son of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is seeking to bar the media from covering court hearings after he was accused of assaulting his father last year. A lawyer for 29-year-old Track Palin filed a motion Friday to prohibit or limit media access to proceedings in Veterans Court. The motion says they want to ensure that the case does not become a distraction to other veterans in the system. Veterans Court is part of Alaska therapeutic court system.Load Error

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