Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, on Tuesday introduced a new bill in the House to completely overhaul how the nation’s soldiers receive care from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.
The new bill, which is gaining a groundswell of support, would turn the VA into a government-chartered nonprofit corporation, much like the hospital networks already operating in the private sector today.
The “Caring for our Heroes in the 21st Century Act” would launch a “Veterans Accountable Care Organization” to run the VA’s health care facilities. It would help create a new voucher system whereby soldiers could use VA funding to get care from the private sector. Specifically, it would enroll all new veterans into VetsCare Choice, which covers private health care, and it would let already-enrolled veterans opt in or stay with their existing coverage.
Additionally, the bill would also set up an independent, nonpartisan 15-member commission to monitor the VA’s implementation of the law and make recommendations to Congress. This VetsCare Advisory Commission would be modeled after the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.
A Gallup survey published in March revealed that more than 90% of those polled say veterans should be able to get health care at any facility that takes Medicare, not only at VA medical facilities.
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