Lawmakers move toward agreement on funding for almost bankrupt VA program

Paterniano Del Favero
Luglio 28, 2017

That reason alone was enough for veterans like Cruz to get behind the United States legislation, which he says cuts down critical wait time for veteran health care.

Put in place after a 2014 wait-time scandal at the Phoenix VA hospital, the Choice program allows veterans to receive care from outside doctors if they must wait 30 days or more for an appointment or drive more than 40 miles to a VA facility.

Lawmakers in Washington are nearing an agreement on funding in an effort to save a almost bankrupt Department of Veterans Affairs program. Referrals to the VA Choice Program seem to have been higher than anticipated.

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said he was not warned about President Trump's decision.


Eight veterans groups on Monday railed against a plan that would have provided $2 billion for the Choice program by siphoning money from other VA programs.

McDonald said Wednesday that the VA needs private-sector care. "Even with all the additional funding provided the Veterans Health Administration, many veterans need community care either because the VA can not treat their ailments, or because they do not live near a VA facility", the letter said.

"And that's the trouble for us currently: we have to seek care outside of the VA clinic in Agana", explained Cruz, adding, "Veterans' lives are on the line right now, and here on Guam and the Northern Marianas we depend on care outside the VA Clinic because the VA clinic can't provide that".

If August comes without a solution, nine million enrolled veterans who are eligible under the program will no longer have access to community care. They viewed it as prioritizing private-sector health care while neglecting VA services, and setting a unsafe precedent.

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