WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump signed a bill into law Wednesday that will give veterans more freedom to see doctors outside the troubled Veterans Affairs system, a major shift aimed at reducing wait times and improving care by steering more patients to the private sector.
Photo: The White House
At a Rose Garden event at the White House, Trump praised the legislation as fulfilling his pledge to fix the Department of Veterans Affairs by bringing accountability and providing private care to veterans whenever they feel unhappy with government-run health care.
“All during the campaign I’d go out and say, ‘Why can’t they just go see a doctor instead of standing in line for weeks and weeks and weeks?’ Now they can go see a doctor,” he said.
The sweeping $51 billion plan, which would also expand a VA caregivers program to cover families of veterans of all eras, cleared the Senate on a 92-5 vote last month. The House approved it on a 347-70 vote.
The legislation will give veterans access to private care when they have endured lengthy wait times or the treatment was not what they had expected. But it could escalate costs, and