Buchanan Votes to Overhaul VA System
Allows veterans to seek private health care
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, voted today for legislation to help veterans receive timely access to medical care by allowing them to seek treatment outside the VA system.
The “Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act” (H.R. 3230), sponsored by House Veterans Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller, would require the VA to offer non-VA care to any enrolled veteran who resides more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility or cannot schedule an appointment within 30 days. The $17 billion package includes funds to hire more doctors and nurses as well as authorizes construction projects for 27 new VA medical facilities. The bill also contains provisions to make it easier to fire underperforming senior executives within the VA.
The measure passed the House 420-5 and now moves to the Senate for consideration.
“Every veteran deserves timely access to quality health care,” said Buchanan. “This bill is a positive first step toward disinfecting a broken VA system fraught with negligence and abuse.”
Passage of H.R. 3230 comes a day after the Senate officially confirmed former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald as the next leader of the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs.
Buchanan, co-Chair of Florida’s bipartisan congressional delegation, held a hearing last month to address the VA health care system in Florida. Six Florida facilities, including Bay Pines in St. Petersburg, are among the 112 being investigated for possibly manipulating appointment data. More than 1.5 million veterans reside in the Sunshine State.
Buchanan served four years on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.