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Roe: With Today's Senate Action, Veterans Are One Step Closer to the Care They Deserve

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Washington, May 23, 2018 | Tiffany Haverly (202-225-3527) | comments

Today, Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, released the following statement after the Senate passed the John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka, and Samuel R. Johnson VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks, or VA MISSION, Act:

“With today’s Senate action, veterans are one step closer to the care they deserve, and I thank Senators Isakson and Tester for championing this bipartisan measure in the Senate. I also thank Senator McConnell for getting this bill to the Senate floor quickly so we can answer President Trump’s call to pass the VA MISSION Act by Memorial Day. The VA MISSION Act is the result of over a year of hearings, roundtables and bipartisan negotiations, and I couldn’t be prouder of the final product. When I introduced this bill, I said it would put the department back on track to fulfilling President Lincoln’s promise to care for the men and women who have borne the battle. I truly believe that. This is a transformational piece of legislation that will improve the lives of veterans for generations to come, and I am thrilled this bill will soon be law.

“We would not be here today without the hard work and dedication of our veterans service organization partners. I’ve said it before, but because of them, this is a better bill. Finally, I’m incredibly grateful to President Trump and his administration for their assistance with this legislation. The president’s commitment to veterans is clear, and I am so proud of the big, bold VA reforms we’ve been able to move through Congress in just under a year and a half. Now, the committee’s focus will be on implementation of the VA MISSION Act and the department’s transition to a new electronic health record so the men and women who served our nation can finally have timely access to state of the art health care.”

Background: The VA MISSION Act passed the House on a 347-70 vote on May 16, 2018. The 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. These reforms are supported by major Veterans Service Organizations. 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. Additionally, the bill contains a number of provisions that would strengthen VA's internal capacity to provide timely, quality care to veteran patients within VA medical facilities by improving and expanding VA's ability to train, recruit and retain the very best providers. You can find a section-by-section summary of the VA MISSION Act here.
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