Bipartisan legislation under consideration in the Senate has been changed in a way that could speed privatization of the VA health system, Modern Healthcare reports.
The proposed change to the VA Choice program, sought by the Trump administration and supported by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Concerned Veterans for America, a political advocacy group backed by the conservative Koch brothers, “would significantly expand the private sector’s role” in veterans’ health care, Susannah Luthi writes.
It would do so by requiring VA facilities to meet access standards set by the Veterans Affairs secretary. If facilities don’t meet those standards, VA patients can seek out other approved providers.
“The patient and provider would now be able to decide whether to opt for community care, technically opening up VA Choice eligibility to all veterans,” Luthi explains. “Currently, fewer than 1 million veterans receive care through the Choice program, which offers eligibility to any veteran facing wait times of 30 days or more or 40-mile travel time to a VA clinic.”