Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes to Speed Veterans Access to Care
Reiterates call to President Obama for immediate action
Washington, DC– Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today voted to pass the Veterans Access to Care Act (H.R. 4810), a bill that will help veterans receive more timely access to medical care. The legislation passed the House by a vote of 426-0 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
“More than 100,000 veterans in Hawai‘i and across the country are waiting to see a doctor, and tens of thousands of them are simply lost in the bureaucracy,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “The Veterans Access to Care Act is a first step toward fixing the VA’s scheduling problems, but it does not go far enough to provide the flexibility for veterans to seek medical care outside the VA system. Even with this bill, veterans will still face obstacles to receiving care and would only be able to seek private healthcare if their wait time exceeds VA’s arbitrary wait time goals.
“Our veterans need care now. Last week, I called on President Obama to use his executive power to immediately allow veterans to receive care from private healthcare providers in their community, using their VA identification card. I will also be introducing legislation to do the same.”
The Veterans Access to Care Act would require VA 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 away from a VA medical facility. Veterans would still need individual VA authorization to use a private provider of their choosing, even if the veteran already meets all necessary criteria to seek outside care.
Earlier today, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives to reiterate her call for immediate solutions to connect veterans with the medical care they need.