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Opening Statement of Honorable Jackie Walorski

Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member, it’s an honor to serve on this committee.  

I thank you for holding this legislative hearing to enable relevant stakeholders the opportunity to improve legislation directly impacting them.    

I also want to thank the veteran service organizations testifying today and those in attendance. The selfless work your organizations perform continues to inspire Members, such as me, to remain steadfast in our commitment to improving veteran health care.

The Veteran Health Administration oversees an extensive integrated health care system. In fiscal year 2012, approximately 8.76 million veterans were enrolled in the VA health care system—with approximately 6.33 million unique patients treated.  While these are impressive numbers, we must not get buried in statistics and lose sight of what is most important—the veterans who have earned their right to quality and accessible health care.  

I look forward to working with my colleagues and our panelists on this legislation before us.

Thank you.