Law lets vets seek care outside VA

Law lets vets seek care outside VA

"In every generation there have been heroes like them, patriots who answer the call to serve, who do whatever it takes, wherever and whenever we need them to defend America", the President said. "We will continue our efforts in the years ahead", Cox said.

Notably absent from the signing ceremony was Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) who co-sponsored the bill.

Their effort has run into stringent opposition from a White House still reeling from conservative backlash to the $1.3 trillion government-wide spending bill Trump signed in March.

The bill was a bipartisan proposal that garnered the support of the White House and 38 veterans service organizations, he added. Warning of "virtually unlimited increases" in veterans care spending, the Trump administration argued in a memo circulated to lawmakers that added costs to the newly expanded private care program should be paid for by cutting spending elsewhere at VA.

"President Trump's signing of the VA Mission Act is an important step toward ensuring our veterans have access to the quality care they deserve", said U.S. Sen.

The spending fight could play out in the next few days when Congress takes up the VA appropriation bills, which includes the spending measure for the VA Mission Act. Without passage of the veterans funding bill soon, lawmakers and veterans groups warn that Veterans Affairs will be forced to make hard trade-offs about which programs should be funded.

It could be a preview of spending fights to come, with the next government shutdown deadline looming on September 30, just ahead of the November midterm elections.

The tension over how to pay for the legislation is part of a larger debate over private care for veterans.

The $51 billion measure, which had bipartisan support, built 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.

"I'm seeing a lot of progress with health care, more positive news about health care for all Americans", Jim Wingerter said.

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.

Bergman sits on the VA Committee and Chairs the VA Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

"If the VA can't meet the needs of a veteran in a timely manner, that veteran will have the right to go right outside to a private doctor". A 2017 Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation found that the Choice Program still yielded long wait times for patients, partly because of the complex process by which patients must be referred to non-VA providers.

But the shift to greater outsourcing - arguably the top White House priority for veterans - has been controversial.

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