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Congress agrees to fund Veteran's Health Choice Program

Imagine not being able to see a doctor for weeks or months. You need care, but you can't get into the hospital or treatment programs fast enough. Then, the government decides to give you an option to opt into a program that sets you up with a personal, private doctor much faster. It would be a huge relief.

In what is good news for veterans, Congress has reached a deal to prevent the shutdown of the Veteran's Health Choice Program. This program is funded with billions, and shutting it down or letting it run out of money would have caused many veterans to go without the care they need, at least in the short-term.

Fortunately, the House and Senate both negotiated and came up with a piece of bipartisan legislation that will add $2.1 billion to the program's funds. This money would fund the program for an additional six months. Another $1.4 billion would be added for additional hiring and improvements that would allow veterans to get care more effectively.

Congress previously created the Choice program as a response to the manipulation of patient wait times at Veterans Affairs Department facilities discovered in 2014. The program's intention was to relieve wait times and to help veterans get the care they needed. Now, lawmakers have agreed that this program is important and should stay active at least in some form. The program allows veterans with long wait times to see private doctors, which helps them get on a path to better health sooner. If you have questions about this program, your attorney can help you understand your right to see a private doctor.

Source: The New York Times, "Congress Reaches Deal to Avert Shutdown of Veterans’ Health Choice Program," Nicholas Fandos, July 27, 2017

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