House Committee Passes Tester’s Bill to Fix VA Choice Program

Senator’s Legislation Heads to the House Floor

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today issued the following statement after the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee unanimously passed his legislation to improve the VA Choice Program and improve access to timely care for more of Montana’s veterans in their own communities:

“This is an important first step in fixing the Choice Program in Montana and streamlining veterans’ access to care in their communities. I’m pleased that this legislation passed through the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee with bipartisan support and I look forward to working with House and Senate leadership to bring it to the floor for consideration.”

Tester’s Veterans Choice Program Improvement Act will do the following:

  • Authorizes the VA to be the primary payer under the Choice Program to reduce veterans’ out-of-pocket costs and bring the Choice program in line with the VA’s other community care programs.
  • Allows the VA to access all of the funding initially appropriated for the program to ensure that veterans’ access to care isn’t disrupted in the months before the program sunsets on August 7, 2017.
  • Improves the sharing of medical records between the VA and community providers in Choice to better coordinate care for veterans and connect them to care in a more timely manner.

Tester’s bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by Senators Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, John McCain (R-Ariz), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

The bill passed the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee unanimously.

The Veterans Choice Program Improvement Act can be found online HERE.