The VA Mission Act authorizes new health care programs for veterans, but the bill does not reserve federal money to pay for those programs.
It also had the support of Concerned Veterans for America, a conservative group that has grown influential in the Trump administration.
A Government Accountability Office report released this week found that despite the Choice program's guarantee of providing an appointment within 30 days, veterans waited an average of 51 to 64 days; the process took as long as 70 days. The VA MISSION Act addresses these shortcomings and will provide rural Veterans the flexibility needed to receive the care they've rightfully earned.
The legislation also expands a "Caregivers Program" to cover families of veterans of all eras, not just those injured in the line of duty since 2001.
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. "It's less expensive for us, it works out much better, and it's immediate care", he said. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee; and Sen. Of that, $73.1 billion would go toward health care services for veterans. "This is a truly meaningful victory for our nation's veterans, who will benefit from more choice and fewer barriers to care". "Veterans are now empowered to have more control over their health care and more quality choices within their own communities". There is no reliable estimate and little research to determine how much taxpayers pay for a private medical appointment versus one inside VA's system of 1,300 clinics and hospitals.
"Some degree of community care is necessary, because no one should have to wait three months or drive 200 miles to get a flu shot", said John Hoellwarth, communications director for AMVETS. "I know many other veterans around the area that are fighting right now to get their bills paid from the private sector by the VA, and it's affecting their credit", Noechel said.
Jennifer Burch, an Air Force veteran, says the Choice Act was a great first step, but it wasn't enough. "But it is not the most cost effective way to take care of our veterans".
It's expected to take another year before a new single program is up and running.
The Mission Act was rooted in Congressional efforts to improve veterans' services prompted more than four years ago when a whistleblower revealed a common practice of falsely reporting dates to make it appear as if services were provided in a much shorter period than what actually occurred, Roe recalled.