What They’re Saying About the VA MISSION Act
Last week, Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, introduced legislation based on the agreement he proposed including in the omnibus spending package last month.
H.R. 5674, the Department of Veterans Affairs Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks, or VA MISSION Act, includes three pieces of legislation that have been considered by either the House or Senate Committees on Veterans’ Affairs. The bill would streamline the department’s duplicative community care programs into one cohesive program; create a non-partisan process for reviewing VA’s assets to ensure veterans can access the care they have earned and expand the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Post-9/11 Caregiver Program to all eras.
The bill also includes funding for the Choice Program that is expected to last until the new program authorized under the VA MISSION Act is implemented. In April, Acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie informed Congress that the current account would run out of funds in early to mid-June, ending the Choice Program and potentially creating another access to care crisis.
The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will mark up this legislation tomorrow.
Here’s what people are saying about the VA MISSION Act
“Since the access and waiting list crisis exploded in 2014, Congress, VA and veterans leaders have debated how best to strengthen and reform the delivery of veterans health care to ensure timely and seamless access for enrolled veterans. The legislation before the Committee would take a major step towards that goal by making improvements to and investments in the VA health care system, creating integrated networks so that veterans have access to care when and where they need it, and providing the further recognition and assistance to family caregivers of severely disabled veterans deserve” –A joint letter of support signed by 38 Veterans Service Organizations and stakeholders
“The VA Mission Act represents a milestone in a long journey toward delivering greater access to quality healthcare for our nation’s veterans. Once the new law is passed, veterans and their caregivers will indeed feel thanked for their service to our country in action, not just words. AMVETS commends all parties involved for contributing to this long overdue legislation” –AMVETS National Executive Director Joe Chenelly
“The MISSION Act would go a long way towards resolving problems with the VA’s existing community care programs and stabilizing the VA’s health care system. We’re also encouraged that the MISSION Act mandates a long-overdue review of the VA’s infrastructure across the country. With more than half of VA facilities over 50 years old, it’s critical that we begin working to modernize the VA’s infrastructure to serve a new generation of veterans” –Concerned Veterans for America’s Executive Director Dan Caldwell
"The VA MISSION Act will significantly improve the lives of veterans, their family members and caregivers for years to come. DAV has long advocated for extending comprehensive caregiver benefits to veterans injured and ill prior to September 11, 2001, and this legislation takes major strides to close that gap and provide equity to thousands of family caregivers” –Disabled American Veterans’ Executive Director Gary Augustine
“Paralyzed Veterans greatly appreciates the efforts of House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-MT) for their hard work in seeing this historic legislation be accomplished. We call on all members of Congress to seize this opportunity to improve the lives of veterans and caregivers by swiftly passing H.R. 5674” –Paralyzed Veterans of America’s Executive Director Carl Blake
“We believe this legislation, as currently written, represents a fair compromise that will help to strengthen veterans' health care for future generations while ensuring that veterans' caregivers of all generations get the support they deserve” –The American Legion’s National Commander Denise Rohan
“Passing this bipartisan and bicameral bill is critical to ensuring veterans have timely access to the care they have earned and deserve…This agreement strikes a balance between improving access to VA doctors and leveraging the capabilities of the private sector when VA is unable to meet veterans’ health care needs” –Veterans of Foreign Wars’ National Commander Keith Harman