Tomorrow, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs is scheduled to consider the VA MISSION Act of 2018. The Administration strongly supports this legislation, which will transform the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) into a modern, high-performing, and integrated healthcare system that will ensure our veterans receive the best healthcare possible from the VA, whether delivered in the VA’s own facilities or in the community.
This legislative package is based on an agreement reached among key Congressional leaders and the President after months of discussion.
The legislation accomplishes five objectives: (1) consolidates and strengthens the VA’s community care programs; (2) funds the existing Veterans Choice program to ensure veterans continue to receive care through the Choice program until the new, consolidated Veterans Community Care Program takes effect; (3) creates new flexibilities to aid the VA in managing its infrastructure portfolio through an Asset and Infrastructure (AIR) review process; (4) expands the Caregivers program to include eligible veterans from all eras of service; and (5) strengthens the VA’s workforce.
The Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs recently informed Congress that the VA expects funding for the current Choice program to be exhausted as early as May 31, 2018. To prevent disruptions to veterans receiving care, the Administration urges Congress to pass this bill by Memorial Day.
The President is committed to strengthening the VA healthcare system and offering veterans their choice of the best care to fit their individual clinical needs. This legislation is a key step to transforming the VA into a 21st century healthcare system that improves veterans’ access to timely and high-quality care, prevents inconsistent experiences, enhances veterans’ quality of life, and delivers the best possible healthcare outcomes to our Nation’s veterans.
The Administration looks forward to continuing to work with Congress to enact these historic reforms.