WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) joined a bipartisan group of senators in a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) where they called for improvements to the Veterans Choice Program. The senators conveyed their concerns regarding reduced funding for the program, as well as the VA’s implementation of the “40-mile rule,” which is inconveniencing veterans across Nebraska. Senator Fischer released the following statement this afternoon:
“Why is the Obama administration trying to reduce funding for the Veterans Choice Program before it has even had a chance to work? I have heard from several Nebraskans, including members of the Nebraska American Legion who were in Washington this week and are concerned about having to travel long distances to access the care they need. The VA must quickly address these issues and make any necessary changes to ensure the efficiency of this critical program.”
Last summer, legislation creating the VA Choice Program was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. This bipartisan compromise contained a number of critical reforms to expand care for our veterans and increase accountability at the VA. These improvements included $5 billion in supplemental funding that would be used to hire additional physicians and medical staff, as well as improve the VA’s infrastructure. It also included a provision to help address the VA’s immediate care crisis by temporarily allowing veterans to be treated by private doctors if they live more than 40 miles away from a VA facility.
Click here to view the text of the senators’ letter to Secretary McDonald.