Politics House votes to expand veterans' access to private care

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

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 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.

Trump Surprises Wilkie by Naming Him Veterans Affairs Secretary Nominee

  Trump Surprises Wilkie by Naming Him Veterans Affairs Secretary Nominee President Donald Trump surprised Robert Wilkie Friday by announcing he would nominate the acting secretary of Veterans Affairs to lead the agency. “I’ll be informing him in a little while — he doesn’t know this yet — that we’re going to be putting his name up for nomination to be secretary of the Veterans administration," Trump said at a White House event on prison reform.Turning toward Wilkie, who was in the audience, the president added, “I’m sorry that I ruined the surprise.

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.

All of a Sudden, a Busy House Floor Schedule .
The House’s legislative wheels are kicking into high gear this week. After four months of mostly sleepy floor activity — not counting the protracted fiscal 2018 spending fight that led to two partial government shutdowns and a few other bills, like a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration — the House has enough major legislation coming out of its committees to fill the floor schedule for the next two to three months.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!