New Bipartisan Taskforce Seeks to Reform Veterans Health Care

American Heroes IITwo weeks ago a bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives joined prominent members of the veteran’s community to discuss Concerned Veterans for America’s new VA reform proposal, The Veterans Independence Act.

Dubbed the Fixing Veterans Health Care Summit, the event featured accomplished speakers and notable health care experts including: Avik Roy (Taskforce Co-Chair and Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Medical Progress), Senator Marco Rubio (Rep-FL), Newt Gingrich (former Speaker of the House) and many others.

At least for the moment, taskforce members are not alone in their desire to overhaul the VA. Bear in mind, there remains public distrust in the VA after last year’s discovery that numerous veterans died while awaiting medical treatment.

The proposal, which could affect nearly 22 million veterans and more than 900 VA medical facilities, seeks to offer former military personnel the choice to receive subsidized private care and converts the VA into a non-profit organization, therefore relinquishing the government of its authority over the federal agency.

Central tenets include:

  • Concentrating on veterans with service-related disabilities. Veterans currently receiving treatment in the VA medical system will gain new options in addition to their original eligibility;
  • Addressing veteran’s demographic inevitabilities. That is, new reforms must consider changes in the veteran’s population;
  • Offering eligible veterans the option to receive subsidized care outside of VA facilities;
  • Registering new veterans in a new multi-tier VA insurance system. Not all veterans will quality for subsidized care;
  • And closing inefficient VA medical facilities.

Not everyone is on board though. The American Legion, for example, argues against using vouchers as a long-term solution. And Robert McDonald, who took over as the new VA secretary last year, has publicly opposed CVA’s proposal.

Dissenters may be in the minority though. Indeed, CVA’s proposal has yet to garner congressional support and the reforms are likely to see some pushback from various organizations, but a recent nation-wide survey shows 88 percent of veterans favor the option to choose their own medical provider.

Nate Wilson (@nateallenwilson) is an editor and analyst at the National Center for Policy Analysis.

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