(From The Washington Examiner)
The House passed legislation Wednesday to allow more veterans to see doctors outside the Veterans Affairs system.
The bill, the VA MISSION Act, passed the House 347-70. It would allow more veterans to go outside the VA healthcare system and use private-sector doctors when VA medical centers can’t provide appointments within a month, veterans have to drive more than 40 minutes to access care, or when care is determined inadequate by VA leaders.
The $52 billion plan includes $5.2 billion to avoid shutdown of the Choice program, which is expected to run out of funds as early as May 31, disrupting medical care for veterans. Choice was created as a reaction to the scandals involving long wait times for care in the VA system, in which veterans died while they waited to receive medical care.
Republicans in the Senate have said they support the VA MISSION Act and Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, the top Democrat on the Veterans Affairs Committee, also has said he supports the legislation.