Takano Statement Following Joint Hearing On VA MISSION Act Implementation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Vice Ranking Member Mark Takano (D-CA) released the following statement after the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees met in open session to assess the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) implementation of the VA MISSION Act of 2018:
“I applaud Chairmen Roe and Isakson and Ranking Member Tester for holding this bicameral oversight hearing today,” said Vice Ranking Member Mark Takano. “As the first oversight hearing since the legislation was signed into law in June, today’s hearing provided an important opportunity for our members to learn more about the implementation process and ask valuable questions of VA Secretary Robert Wilkie directly. I am thankful for the Secretary’s participation in today’s hearing.”
“I am also thankful for the strong relationships our committees and VA built during the 115th Congress. As we move into the 116th, it is my hope that Secretary Wilkie and VA will continue to see us as partners in our shared mission to provide veterans access to high-quality, timely healthcare. However, I cannot stress enough just how important transparency and accountability will be during the implementation of the VA MISSION Act. Our veterans and taxpayers deserve to be put first during this process and I look forward to holding VA accountable every step of the way.
“Finally, the Veterans Health Administration represents our promise to provide high-quality healthcare to our nation’s veterans. We owe it to them to uphold that commitment and make sure their healthcare is never sold out to profiteers in the for-profit healthcare industry. The way the VA Mission Act was written, VA has broad authority to set its own access standards for veterans to receive care in the community. If VA fails to implement these access standards properly, or if VA makes them too broad, then the number of veterans receiving expensive private healthcare in the community will increase exponentially, undermining veterans’ healthcare and creating an unsustainable strain on VA resources. We cannot allow that to happen. VA must get this right the first time.”