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House passes bill to address VA issues; Senate releases separate bill

June 10, 2014

In response to growing concerns regarding wait times experienced by veterans seeking health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs, the House of Representatives today voted 421-0 (with 11 members not voting) to approve the Veterans Access to Care Act (H.R. 4810). Among other provisions, the bill would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer non-VA care at the department’s expense to any enrolled veteran who cannot get an appointment within VA wait-time goals or who lives more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility. Any care provided by a non-department facility not under an existing VA contract would be reimbursed at the rate set by the VA, Tricare or Medicare, whichever is greatest. The access portions of the bill would sunset two years after enactment. The Senate is expected to vote later this week on a separate bill to address the issue.