Trump signs bill pro­vid­ing funds to Vet­er­ans Choice health pro­gram

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION - — Stephen Di­nan

Pres­i­dent Trump on Satur­day signed a bill that will pump funds into the Vet­er­ans Choice Pro­gram to keep it up and run­ning, while Wash­ing­ton con­tin­ues to fight over how best to give vet­er­ans the care they earned — but which the gov­ern­ment has some­times failed to de­liver.

Ap­proved in the wake of the wait­list scan­dal that saw hun­dreds of vet­er­ans die while stuck on se­cret wait lists, the choice pro­gram al­lows those caught in back­logs to seek care at from a pri­vate clinic or doc­tor and bill the costs back to the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Depart­ment.

Mr. Trump signed the new leg­is­la­tion while on a work­ing va­ca­tion at his golf club in New Jersey.

“To­day is an­other mile­stone in our work to trans­form the VA, where we’re do­ing record-set­ting busi­ness,” Mr. Trump said, call­ing the bill an­other cam­paign prom­ise he’s ac­com­plished.

The choice pro­gram needed an im­me­di­ate in­fu­sion of cash to carry it through into the new fis­cal year, which be­gins Oct. 1.

Democrats have been re­luc­tant about the pro­gram, say­ing they fear the care pro­gram is the first step to­ward in­tro­duc­ing more pri­vate op­tions out­side of the VA’s net­work of clin­ics. But Repub­li­cans said it shouldn’t mat­ter where the care comes from, just that vet­er­ans get what they have earned.

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