President Trump has signed a bill on Wednesday to help veterans get better care and to put pressure on the Department Veterans Affairs to get it together — an important step in fulfilling his campaign promise to fix this mess.
The bill. Trump signed the Veterans Choice Improvement Act, which expands a previous “choice” program that allowed veterans, for a temporary time, to seek private healthcare if they met certain qualifications to do so.
The Washington Examiner reported:
The Veterans Choice Improvement Act removes barriers that Congress placed around the original “choice” initiative and eliminates an expiration date that would have shuttered the program in August.
Lawmakers created the choice program in 2014 after a massive scandal involving wait time cover-ups at more than 100 VA facilities around the country. It was initially structured as a two-year pilot program that limited when and where veterans could choose to see private doctors. Patients could only use the choice program if they lived more than 40 miles from the nearest VA hospital or if they could not get an appointment from their local VA facility within 30 days.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 19, 2017
— Dr. David J. Shulkin (@SecShulkin) April 19, 2017
Controversy and praise. Some critics have expressed concern that the choice program would end up privatizing the VA, while proponents of the move have pointed to the VA’s refusal to fix their failing system.
Dan Caldwell, policy director at Concerned Veterans for America, discussed the legislation.
“Extending the Choice Program is the right thing to do, but only as a stopgap measure until better solutions are developed and implemented,” Caldwell said. “Reauthorizing the Choice Act buys Congress some time to work with Secretary [David] Shulkin on broader choice reforms that will truly empower veterans with the ability to seek care outside the VA when they want to.”
What now? Hopefully this will put pressure on the VA to get their act together, and if not, it appears we finally have an administration that is willing to fix the problem and not look the other way.
If the VA refuses to do what needs to be done to fix their problems, perhaps privatization isn’t such a bad idea — in fact, I’m not entirely sure why that’s not considered a solid plan — aside from the fact that leftists want the government in control of everything.
What are your thoughts about this? Do you think the VA should be privatized? If not, why not?