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Upton, House Advance Timely VA Reforms

Bipartisan bill will improve VA health care for approximately nine million veterans

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Washington, May 17, 2018 | Tom Wilbur (202-225-3761) | comments

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, last night joined his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives in voting to advance the VA MISSION Act of 2018. This bipartisan legislation will strengthen and improve the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system for the approximately nine million veteran patients who utilize the system. The legislation passed by a 347 to 70 vote.

“This bipartisan bill contains major reforms that will help our veterans in Southwest Michigan and across the country,” said Upton. “It continues investment in long-term VA strength and success coupled with major reforms allowing greater choice for veterans. Voting to improve the lives of our veterans, and their families, is always the easiest vote I cast. Today marks a win for improved veteran health care and choice.”

“This bipartisan legislation will make a real difference in the lives of veterans right here in Southwest Michigan,” said Ryan Mitchell, Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran from Kalamazoo. “We applaud Fred Upton for his positive work and urge the Senate and president to act quickly to sign this important legislation into law.”

“These much-needed reforms will make a big difference for veterans like me,” said Ruben Benavidez, Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran from Van Buren County. “I want to thank Fred for his efforts. We’re looking forward to seeing this bipartisan legislation signed into law.”

The VA MISSION Act makes significant reforms to the VA Choice Program. This program was designed to allow certain veterans to access health care from civilian doctors if they live more than 40 miles from a VA facility or were unable to get an appointment at the VA within 30 days. The VA MISSION Act removes the current 30-day, 40-mile barrier to expand veteran choice and access to timely, quality, health care. It also fully funds the current program while the new choice program is being implemented.

The VA MISSION Act is supported by groups such as the Air Force Association, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the American Veterans, the Gold Star Wives of America, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the Jewish War Veterans, the Marine Corps League, the Military Family Association, the National Association of Community Health Centers, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Wounded Warrior Project, and many more.

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