Shea-Porter Statement on Failed House Vote to Extend the Veterans Choice Program
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives voted down a bill to extend funding for the Veterans Choice program by cutting other VA programs:
“While I have fought for months to reform and reauthorize the Choice program, tonight’s bill was not ready for prime time, which is why it was opposed by all major Veterans Service Organizations, why I could not vote ‘yes’ in its current form, and why the House rejected the bill with a bipartisan vote. I expect the House to vote later this week on a bipartisan, bicameral compromise that will better serve our veterans and provide this needed funding extension, and I will continue to call for immediate work on a long-term, streamlined reorganization of how the VA provides access to care in the community,” said Shea-Porter.
For months, Shea-Porter has voiced deep concerns about failures in the administration of the Veterans Choice Program by the VA and its contractor, HealthNet. Yesterday, the Union Leader wrote about Shea-Porter’s April letter to Congressional leadership calling for the reorganization of VA’s Community Care programs, including Choice, into a permanent and sustainable program that meets the needs of New Hampshire veterans. In April, Shea-Porter wrote a letter to House and Senate leaders calling for Congress to immediately address “problems with access to care as well as the Department’s inability to pay medical claims to community providers in a timely way.”
“Our nation’s veterans deserve the benefits we have promised to them, and that includes timely access to the best medical care our country has to offer,” Shea-Porter wrote in April. “I hope that Congress will be able to build on its commitment to provide this care within the VA by strengthening the VA health system while also streamlining veterans’ access to private care when it is needed.”
Tonight’s bill was opposed by major Veterans Service Organizations and veterans advocacy organizations, including Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, AMVETS, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the Military Officers of America, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and the Vietnam Veterans of America.