Some fear that allowing veterans this "unfettered" choice will open the door to a purposeful and preconceived divestment effort that runs along ideological fault lines and will erode VA's capacity to provide care as veterans increasingly opt for non-VA care. Access to health care will be greatly expanded thanks to a bipartisan bill signed by President Trump. From Veterans not receiving care, to providers not receiving reimbursement for the care provided, the shortfalls and red-tape of the Choice Program have been problematic for years.
"I compared it to putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound", said Burch.
It would allow veterans to see private doctors when they do not receive the treatment they expected, with the approval of a VA provider.
An administration official told the Washington Free Beacon the White House is committed to funding health care for current and future heroes and said the expansion can be paid for under existing spending caps. House Democrats had sought restrictions on the commission but were rebuffed by House Republicans and the White House. "This is a truly meaningful victory for our nation's veterans, who will benefit from more choice and fewer barriers to care".
Wednesday, Trump signed the VA Mission Act of 2018. Supporters of the change, like Haynes, say for many that will mean less travel to get their care.
The $51 billion measure builds 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.
At a White House ceremony on Wednesday, Trump signaled out U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., who joined the House Veterans Affairs Committee last month. "By increasing transparency in opioid prescribing, we can identify abuse patterns and ensure our veterans are getting the best possible care".
"Without subjecting the program to any budgetary constraint, there is no incentive to continue to serve veterans with innovative, streamlined, and efficient quality of care", according to the memo obtained by The Associated Press.
Phillip Carter, a senior researcher at the Rand Corp., a nonprofit think tank, said the bill creates another unanswered question on cost: It could push up the demand for medical care at VA hospitals as the pressure on them eases with more outside appointments. VA has said its medical facilities are "often 40 percent better in terms of wait times" compared with the private sector.
For more than 70 years, we have ensured that veterans have received the benefits earned through their service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis. At The Washington Post, she has written about the federal workforce, state politics and government in Annapolis, Md., and in Richmond; local government in Fairfax County, Va. and the redevelopment of Washington and its neighborhoods.