"So simple and yet so complex", he said. "Anything we can do for our vets that are coming out, it should be the most important thing for our country to look at", said Air Force veteran Patrick Bedford. The new VA Mission Bill will allow veterans to receive care from private doctors and hospitals when they do not receive the treatment they expected from the VA.
"Veterans deserve access to a safe and reliable health care program", Mr. Shelby said. Democrats say they intend to question Wilkie at his confirmation hearing on whether he plans to "privatize" or degrade the VA health system, an issue that former VA Secretary David Shulkin says led to his firing in March.
The VA Mission Act authorizes an expansion of veterans' access to private health care, but the bill does not reserve federal money to pay for it.
The law also streamlines the VA's multiple community health programs into one.
The bill's passage into law is a part of Congress' efforts to do right by the nation's veterans, according to Isakson, the Senate bill sponsor.
The legislation had the support of almost 40 major veterans groups, who in a letter before the bill passed the House described it as a "major step" toward the goal of ensuring timely and seamless health care for veterans. Additionally, the law will extend caregiver access to veterans who served prior to 9/11; previous to the law, the caregiver programs only applied to post-9/11 veterans.
A bipartisan group of senators is seeking to pay for the law by adding new funds to cover the VA private care program, but the White House has been quietly working to block that plan, saying it is "anathema to responsible spending".
"What a attractive word that is - choice - and freedom to our awesome veterans", Trump said at the ceremony.
The $51 billion measure, which had bipartisan support, built on legislation passed in 2014 in response to a scandal at the Phoenix VA medical center, where some veterans died while waiting months for appointments.
Cox has introduced over 120 pieces of legislation for the military, veterans, and their families during his time in the House.
However, the Choice Program has faced its own set of obstacles. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the increase at 640,000 veterans each year, particularly with new authorization for VA to negotiate a contract for care at private walk-in clinics.
For more than 70 years, we have ensured that veterans have received the benefits earned through their service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.