Several pieces of legislation will be marked up by the House Veterans Affairs Committee this week, in an effort to bring much needed changes and reforms to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The committee will be marking up both the VA Care in the Community Act and the Asset and Infrastructure Review Act of 2017.
The Asset and Infrastructure Review Act would move the VA towards greater efficiency and a greater ability to serve veterans when and where they need it. This bill would allow the VA to conduct an analysis of its structures and facilities to understand which facilities are most effective and which ones could be realigned due to lack of use. This bill would move the VA towards a better use of its resources to better care for veterans.
The VA Care in the Community Act still needs some work. This bill aims to expand the private-sector care options available to veterans who use the VA, although it could improve its options and openness to veterans seeking private medical care. Currently, those veterans are limited in terms of who can participate in the Veterans Choice Program and what options are available through that program.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee should work to improve the choice options in the VA Care in the Community Act and move the Asset and Infrastructure Review Act of 2017 through committee and onto a vote. It’s our hope that the Senate quickly introduces its own VA reform legislation that truly places veterans first at the VA.
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