Both chambers of Congress are acting in the wake of the Veteran Affairs scandal involving the deplorable care and long waits at government hospitals, an acknowledgement that government-run healthcare isn’t working for the nation’s heroes.
Tuesday, House representatives from both parties unanimously passed legislation that would address delays in care by allowing veterans to seek treatment from private facilities if they live more than 40 miles from a VA hospital, or if they have a long wait for an appointment, according to media reports.
“An internal Veterans Affairs audit released on Monday found that tens of thousands of newly returning veterans wait at least 90 days for medical care, while even more who signed up in the agency system over the past 10 years never got an immediate appointment they requested,” CNN reported.
The House bill, sponsored by Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller – a Florida republican, passed on a vote of 421-0, according to Politico.
“The number of veterans that have received delayed care from VA facilities or were denied appointments despite being qualified for VA care is both shocking and appalling, and the resignation of former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki will not fix these systemic failures,” said California republican Ed Royce, co-sponsor of the House bill.
“This legislation ensures that veterans who cannot get an appointment will still get the care they deserve. It is the least we can do for those who served our country so bravely.”
The bill is similar to one introduced by republican Arizona Sen. John McCain and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, last week, but there are several key differences.