Tags: Healthcare Reform | VA Scandal | veterans | healthcare | choice | private | doctors

Poll: 88 Percent of Vets Want Healthcare Choices Apart From VA

By    |   Tuesday, 03 Feb 2015 07:04 PM

A new poll shows vets strongly support having the option to get health care outside of Veterans Affairs Department facilities — despite announced plans by VA officials to cut back on those programs.

The Concerned Veterans for America survey, released Tuesday, finds 88 percent of polled said officials need to increase health care choices for VA patients, including access to private care physicians.

About 95 percent said veterans should be entitled to the best care possible, regardless of the provider.

The survey, conducted by the conservative Tarrance Group, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

"[V]eterans overwhelmingly favor VA reform and want more health care choice," the Concerned Veterans for America's chief executive officer, Pete Hegseth, said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, President [Barack] Obama and the VA remain wildly out of touch with these wishes."

As part of the department's nearly $169 billion fiscal 2016 budget request released Monday, White House officials said they'd submit legislation to shift money from the Veterans Choice Program "to support essential investments in VA system priorities in a fiscally responsible, budget-neutral manner," the Military Times reports.

Congress created the "choice card" program last summer to provide quicker and more convenient appointments to veterans — a reaction to revelations in a delayed care scandal, including the long waits vets were made to endure for medical visits and consults.

Lawmakers authorized $15 billion in funding for two years of the program, with $5 billion for physician hiring and the rest to establish a temporary program to make it easier for veterans to seek private, non-VA health care, the Military Times notes.

But on Monday, VA Assistant Secretary for Management Helen Tierney said agency officials have "a strong indication that this is not [veterans'] preferred choice" and "would prefer to remain in the VA" for medical care, The Hill reports.

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), however, called the plan a "non-starter," The Hill reports.

According to the Military Times, some 8.5 million choice cards have been issued to veterans, who are eligible if they live in rural areas or face more than a month's wait for medical appointments.

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A new poll shows vets strongly support having the option to get health care outside of Veterans Affairs Department facilities - despite announced plans by VA officials to cut back on those programs.The Concerned Veterans for America survey, released Tuesday, finds88 percent...
veterans, healthcare, choice, private, doctors, waits, rural
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Tuesday, 03 Feb 2015 07:04 PM
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