(April 11, 2017) The House voted unanimously last week to allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to continue the Veterans Choice Program until it runs out of funding. The Senate approved its version of the legislation two days earlier.
The Veterans Choice Program Improvement Act now awaits the signature of President Donald Trump.
The program was created in 2014 to eliminate long waits for appointments at VA clinics and hospitals. Eligible patients wait at least 30 days to be seen or live more than 40 miles from a facility. It was funded with $10 billion.Help shape the future of the National Guard
The program is set to expire Aug. 7, but more than $1 billion of the original funding is still available. The legislation extends the program until the funding is exhausted.
VA Secretary David Shulkin favors continuing an improved version of the program. He calls it Veterans Choice 2.0 and says it will be less bureaucratic and eliminate the time and distance requirements.