DAV National Commander Joseph W. Johnston Statement on House Passage of H.R. 4810, the Veterans Access to Care Act:
DAV commends Chairman Jeff Miller (FL) and Ranking Member Mike Michaud (ME) for joining together and quickly passing bipartisan legislation in response to the current VA health care crisis. Today’s House action is a first step that together with the anticipated approval of similar bipartisan legislation in the Senate from Chairman Bernie Sanders (VT) and Senator John McCain (AZ), and in conjunction with actions already taken and planned by Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson, could lead to better access to medical care for the men and women who served.
We look forward to working with all parties to help fine tune, strengthen and coalesce around effective administrative, regulatory and legislative changes needed to address VA’s capacity and access problems. As the House and Senate work towards a final compromise bill, it is imperative that VA remains responsible for both coordinating and paying for enrolled veterans’ medical care, regardless of the provider, in order to achieve the best health outcomes for veterans. Further, as Congress expands the mandate to provide care outside VA, Congress must ensure that it provides the additional funding without taking away funding from VA’s hospitals and clinics that are already at or near capacity.
Today’s House vote, and the increased attention and oversight by the Committee, are helping to fulfill the promise that no veteran should be forced to wait too long or travel too far to get the benefits and services they earned have earned through their blood, sweat and sacrifice.