Bipartisan legislation would provide better care for our veterans

Published 12:05 pm Monday, June 11, 2018

The U.S. Senate’s passage of the VA Mission Act by a huge bipartisan margin is a big step toward providing the greater choice and access to timely health care our veterans richly deserve.

One key provision of the bill, which earlier passed the House, would allow more access to private care for veterans experiencing unacceptable wait times in the VA. It also would expand access to private care when VA facilities do not offer needed services.

An existing caregiver program would be expanded to cover families of all veterans, rather than just families of veterans wounded on active duty since Sept. 11, 2003.

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The bill also would create a commission appointed by the president to review the closure of underperforming VA facilities.

This provision is important because there have been far too many horror stories in recent years of veterans who waited for too long to receive the care they needed or who received substandard care.

President Donald Trump, in the months leading up to his election, railed against problems in the VA system and promised to address them if elected.

The VA Mission Act was the second phase of an effort to address these problems. Earlier, he signed into law legislation that made it easier for the VA to remove administrators who were unable to perform at a satisfactory level.

Trump deserves credit for keeping this campaign promise along with many others he has made. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell helped make this legislation happen in the Senate.

Now the president has an obligation to demand effective implementation of these two bills from Robert Wilkie, who he plans to nominate to head the Veterans Administration.

The two bills provide the tools for improving a troubled department.

If successful, the biggest winners will be our veterans and their families who have earned and deserve the best health care our nation can provide.

Bowling Green Daily News