The Trump administration is rushing headlong into its plan to privatize veterans’ health care, ProPublica reports, reneging on a legislative deal made with a bipartisan group of members of Congress.
Last June, the traitor in the White House signed the VA Mission Act into law, and then promptly refused to agree to fund it. The legislation was intended to ensure that veterans could get private health care when VA services weren’t readily available to them or timely to secure. When he signed the bill, he made his intentions clear: “I’m going to sign legislation that will make veterans’ choice permanent,” much to the chagrin and concern of the veterans’ groups he had assembled for the bill signing, who helped carefully negotiate a bill that would maintain the VA health system, but allow veterans access to private care as necessary.
The “as necessary” is the part the administration intends to blow wide open. ProPublica reports that the administration is “working on a plan to shift millions more veterans to private doctors and is aiming to unveil the proposal during Trump’s State of Union address in January, according to four people briefed on the proposal.” That could come at a cost of from $13.9 billion to $32.1 billion over five years, and likely at the expense of the existing VA health system. In 2014, veterans got about 22 percent of their care privately. That’s grown to 36 percent now, and the Trump administration is looking at policies that would shift up to 55 percent of veterans into private care, according to ProPublica’s sources.
The VA Mission Act establishes “access standards” for when veterans can seek private care. After a great deal of fighting with the administration and hard-core privatization pushers in Congress, a compromise to restrict those access standards was achieved by adding the word “designated.” House Democrats argued that wasn’t enough to restrain a Trump VA secretary, who would have the authority to decide “which access standards would make veterans eligible for private care and which were merely guidelines.” And guess what the administration intends to do.
At least there’s one chamber of Congress with some power to fight it.
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