President Trump signs VA law to provide veterans private health care choices
WASHINGTON — President Trump signed legislation Wednesday paving the way for a major overhaul of the Department of Veterans Affairs and expanded access for veterans to VA-funded care in the private sector.
The measure, which passed both chambers of Congress last month with overwhelming bipartisan support, delivers on a key campaign promise for Trump, who pledged to provide veterans with more non-VA health care choices.
By Donovan Slack, USA TODAY
Known as the VA MISSION Act, the law directs the VA to combine a number of existing private-care programs, including the so-called Choice program, which was created in 2014 after veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix VA.
The law also creates a commission to recommend which VA facilities are worth repairing, where new ones should be built, and which ones should be closed and care provided in the private sector instead.
The measure includes some incentives to help the VA hire more health care providers. It allows the agency to provide scholarships to medical students in exchange for their pledging to work at VA. Currently some 33,000 positions are unfilled at the agency.
In addition, the law provides pre-9/11 veterans with benefits to help cover the cost of in-home care-givers. Such benefits previously were provided only to post-9/11 veterans.
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DR. FRED COSTELLO, AIR FORCE CAPTAIN VIETNAM ERA, SUPPORTS OUR VETS