This spring, reports of outrageously long waits for care at Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities—and of the VA's systematic coverup of its own failures—created a national scandal. Now, the Washington Post reports that Senate-House negotiations on a reform bill have produced a compromise plan that will fund the hiring of new VA employees and allow some veterans to receive VA-funded care from outside providers, among other provisions. From the Post:
According to a draft summary of the measure provided by House aides, Congress would give eligible military veterans a “Veterans Choice Card” and allow them to seek health care outside the VA medical system from Medicare-eligible providers, other federally qualified health centers or facilities operated by the Defense Department or federal Indian Health Service centers...A veteran could leave the VA system if they’re unable to receive an appointment within 14 days — the current VA wait-time goal, or if they live more than 40 miles from a VA facility.
The bill would authorize a total of $15 billion in funding, and legislators have said they would like to pass it before Congress begins a five-week recess on Friday.