This week, the House Veterans Affairs Committee approved the MISSION Act, moving the bill one step closer to a vote of the full House.
The measure would give veterans real choice over their health care by allowing them to seek care outside the VA’s system.
Here are five things you need to know about the MISSION Act:
- The bill would overhaul and expand the Veterans Choice Program, allowing veterans greater access to health care outside the VA. It would do away with arbitrary criteria to qualify for outside care and put into place clear guidelines for accessing community care. It also would streamline community care programs to cut down on confusion and waste.
- The bill would provide funding for the Choice Program in the interim so that the veterans using it don’t see a disruption in their medical care. Current funding is expected to run out by the end of May.
- This legislation would also allow for Congress and the VA to review the department’s physical assets to ensure resources aren’t wasted on unused or under-utilized facilities.
- The MISSION Act has the support of nearly 40 veterans service organizations.
- The bill has bipartisan support, winning committee approval by a 20-2 vote. One of the two dissenters was Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz, who has constantly stood in the way of reforming the VA and veterans’ health care.
In the words of HVAC Chairman Rep. Phil Roe, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime, transformational bill.” Veterans need the MISSION Act to ensure they have access to the quality and timely care they were promised when they put on the uniform.