The White House and congressional leaders are both issuing late warnings that the VA “Mission Act” to improve veterans’ access private health care will experience a bumpy rollout, Government Executive reported.
The VA is in final preparations to implement the bipartisan measure that President Trump signed into law in 2017 but has faced pushback from some who see it as an administration attempt to privatize VA health care.
The program is designed to consolidate existing approved private care programs and ease veterans’ access to those providers.
Earlier this year the VA released its standards for accessing private care under the act, which would require meeting certain distance and eligibility requirements.
The new standards are expected to go into effect in June, but House VA Committee Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and Senate VA Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.) have voiced concerns that the program and its new standards will hollow out VA care.
“Since the Mission Act was signed into law, I’ve had concerns the VA’s primary focus could be on supplanting in-house care instead of supplementing that care when it makes the most sense for our veterans,” Tester said.
Tester has also said the VA is at risk of sending patients out for private care that is lower in quality and less timely.
DOD photo by Reese Brown