U.S. Senators Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), Richard Burr (R-NC), John McCain (R-AZ), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) today introduced theVeterans Choice Act, a bill to increase veterans choice and accessibility when selecting their medical providers by offering veterans access to non-VA hospitals and supplementing VA care with providers in veteran's hometowns.
"It is wrong to ask our soldiers to fight for freedom abroad only to deny it to them here at home," said Dr. Coburn. "We should allow veterans to go to the doctor, and health care facility, of their choice rather than allowing politicians and bureaucrats to decide where they can receive health care. In America, every hospital should be a veterans' hospital. Our bill makes that possible."
"As I've long argued, we must provide for veterans without timely access to VA facilities the option of using high-quality health care providers near their homes, rather than rely on a system which is too often riddled with dysfunction," said Senator John McCain. "This legislation increases veterans' flexibility to get the care they've earned, while bringing much-needed accountability and transparency to create a VA worthy of the heroes it serves."
"It's clear with the evidence we now have that veterans had a lack of access to needed care, even in the past few years when VA carried over money," said Senator Richard Burr. "This is a cultural problem with deep roots in VA, and money will not solve cultural problems. In fact, it could prove to only reinforce that culture. The legislation we are introducing today will address these problems head on by getting veterans the appointments they need from the doctor of their choice, providing the transparency needed to do an apples-to-apples comparison with non-VA hospitals, and start reforming the system and changing the culture to ensure no veteran ever again dies while waiting for the care they need."
"While the national scandal involving scheduling irregularities in VA facilities around the country deserves swift attention, and those responsible need to be held accountable, we cannot take our focus off the fact that there are still veterans awaiting care," said Senator Jeff Flake. "Instead of lengthy wait times or secret lists, this legislation provides much-needed flexibility for veterans to get the care they need in a timely fashion."
The Veterans Choice Act will provide immediate relief to veterans by affording them the ability to seek care nearer to their homes--and with providers they trust. The bill provides veterans with more choice and flexibility, while bringing much-needed accountability and transparency to VA operations.