Speaker Kirk Cox Attends White House Signing Ceremony For VA Reforms

President Donald Trump at a rally at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville Tenn

"We do our veterans no favors by promising care without backing it up with resources", said Sen.

"If the VA can't meet the needs of a veteran in a timely manner, that veteran will have the right to go right outside to a private doctor".

The bill will streamline the Veterans Choice Program and VA community care programs to ensure that veterans are able to gain access to proper healthcare when and where they need it, as well when the VA is unable to provide it.

The new law also aims to support the renovation of VA facilities, as well as an initiative that intends to monitor controlled substance prescriptions of VA providers to avoid opioid addiction among veterans.

"I compared it to putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound", said Burch. "We have a responsibility to provide our Veterans with the care they deserve, while also being good stewards of the taxpayer dollar", the administration said in a statement.

The legislation secures $52 billion to improve the Department of Veteran Affairs by expanding comprehensive assistance for family caregivers, merging community care programs and even hiring additional health care professionals. House Democrats had sought restrictions on the commission but were rebuffed by House Republicans and the White House. Without passage of the veterans funding bill soon, lawmakers and veterans groups warn that Veterans Affairs will be forced to make hard trade-offs about which programs should be funded.

THE FACTS: The care provided under the Choice private-sector program is not as immediate as Trump suggests, nor does it always work out much better.

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Wednesday, Trump signed the VA Mission Act of 2018.

The measure builds on legislation passed in 2014 in response to a wait-time scandal at the Phoenix VA medical center, where some veterans died while waiting months for appointments.

But the shift to greater outsourcing - arguably the top White House priority for veterans - has been controversial. He said that consolidating the multiple private care programs that exist now should control the new bill's costs.

Cox added, "Virginia is one of the most veteran-friendly states in the nation and we've worked hard to provide our veterans with access to education, job training and placement services, and healthcare when they've returned home".

"Without subjecting the program to any budgetary constraint, there is no incentive to continue to serve veterans with innovative, streamlined, and efficient quality of care", according to the memo obtained by The Associated Press. VA has said its medical facilities are "often 40 percent better in terms of wait times" compared with the private sector. That overhaul will take at least 10 years to be complete.

Story by Erica Werner and Lisa Rein. Lisa Rein covers federal agencies and the management of government in the Trump adminstration.

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