WASHINGTON — The acting secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs supports a package of VA reforms Congress failed to pass last month and urged lawmakers Monday to try again.
Robert Wilkie wrote in a statement that the VA and Congress need to come together to overhaul the VA Choice program, which veterans use to receive private-sector medical care. Lawmakers and large veterans organizations agree the program is complex and difficult for veterans to use, and they’ve been working for more than a year to garner support to pass large-scale reforms.
The Choice program was created in response to the VA wait-time scandal — uncovered in Phoenix four years ago Monday.
“It’s time to fix the Choice program — as well as the department’s other non-VA care efforts — once and for all by merging them into a single, streamlined community care program that’s easy to use for veterans and VA employees,” Wilkie wrote.
Wilkie told members of the House and Senate veterans’ affairs committees Monday that he supported a package of reforms they failed to attach to Congress’ massive spending bill in March. The package was a deal between Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., the chairman of the House