VA Choice Program must work better for our veterans



By Jerry Moran and Markwayne Mullin

When our men and women in uniform complete their military service, they fulfill their solemn vow and commitment to our nation. It is our duty to honor our commitment to them. Unfortunately, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) too often fails in fulfilling its pledge to provide quality medical care to our nation’s veterans.

Thousands of veterans are still struggling to access the care they were promised through the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (Choice Act).

In the wake of the wait-list scandal last year that exposed systemic failures and mismanagement within the VA, Congress came together to pass the bipartisan Choice Act – legislation that promised to give veterans the choice to seek medical care outside of the VA.

The Choice Act created the Veterans Choice Program which was supposed to allow veterans access to local health care if they cannot receive the care they need at a VA facility within 40 miles of their home, or their wait time for an appointment at a VA facility is more than 30 days. But the VA has taken a flawed approach to implementing this 40-mile rule.

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