Rooney Cosponsors Bill to Improve Veteran Health Care Access
Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney (FL-17), an Army veteran and member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, today cosponsored the Veteran-Centered Access to Coordinated Health Care Act, H.R. 3858, which would help ensure timely, quality care for all American veterans.
“The secret waiting lists in Arizona and other VA facilities aren’t isolated incidents – they are indicative of widespread problems at the VA in delivering care to veterans when they need it, where they need it,” Rooney said. “I have heard from veterans across my district who have been forced to wait months to see a doctor or begin needed, life-saving treatment. Veterans in Florida’s heartland have to travel long distances for simple examinations and procedures. This is unacceptable.
“Just like veterans can take their GI benefits and go to any accredited school of their choosing, they should be able to take their health care benefits and go to any licensed doctor, especially when the VA can’t treat them in a timely manner. By allowing the VA to contract with non-VA providers, we can ensure that our veterans get the care they need, when they need it.”
The Veteran-Centered Access to Coordinated Health Care Act would:
• Clarify existing authorities of the VA by directing the VA Secretary to enter into contracts with non-VA providers when it is not capable of providing services for geographical, capacity or timeliness reasons; and,
• Reauthorize and expand the VA pilot program Project ARCH (Access Received Closer to Home). Currently, the pilot program, which determines eligibility based on driving time from a VA facility, involves limited facilities in five states. H.R. 3858 would expand Project ARCH to all Veteran Integrated Service Networks across the country.
There’s only so many patches you can put on an old tire that never rolled right to begin with.
Medicare is right there, waiting for Vet and active duty dependent enrollment.
All that should be preserved of the beyond-repair VA is its prescription drug price negotiating powers, which Medicare should have had all along (and would have if our legislators weren’t so corrupt).
Giving Vets and active duty dependents Medicare would give them the immediate, in-community care they deserve for their service and sacrifices, sans a historically malignant military agenda that they don’t deserve.
Giving Vets and active duty dependents Medicare would give doctors and hospitals in small communities the incomes they need and deserve, incomes that would allow them to keep pace with major metropolitan areas in training, purchase of equipment, hiring of personnel, etc.
The federal cost savings would be on an unprecedented scale, but the cost savings means precious little when 22 Vets per day are taking their own lives, and an untold number of Vets are suffering every day from treatable conditions.