Congressional reforms still needed for Veterans' healthcare

© 2017-Kemmerer Gazette

Washington, D.C. — The Senate passed bipartisan legislation Tuesday, August 2, to fund the Veterans Choice Program into the next year.

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said the Senate should use the time provided before funding runs out again to craft needed reforms to improve the Veterans Choice Program. Enzi said that while many veterans rely on the program, he has also heard enough concerns from those involved that the program clearly needs some reforms in order to be sustainable.

“It is good to see the Senate pass bipartisan legislation to provide funding to an important veterans program that many in Wyoming already rely on for care,” Enzi said. “The Veterans Choice Program has the potential to be an important resource for vets to get care closer to home, but only if the program works as it was intended. I continue to hear from veterans and medical providers having problems, including millions of outstanding payments owed to providers. We can and should do better to improve this program for our veterans.”

Enzi also expressed his concern that the additional funding for the program would add to the debt.

“We have an important duty to keep our promise to provide healthcare to veterans,” Enzi said. “That duty must be balanced with our wider responsibility to our nation’s fiscal health. As Congress debates a long-term solution for the Choice Program, we must ensure the program does not continue to add to the nation’s debt.”

Established by Congress in 2014 in response to the nationwide crisis of veterans’ access to care, the Veterans Choice Program allows veterans who live more than 40 miles from the closest VA facility, or who face a significant delay in scheduling an appointment, to access non-VA care.

More In Opinions