VA MISSION Act: ‘Historic Veterans Legislation’

‘Major VA Overhaul’ ‘Delivers On A Key Campaign Promise For The President’


“The Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved legislation paving the way for a major overhaul of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the way veterans access health care in the private sector … The measure’s passage by vote of 92-5 represents a significant bipartisan legislative victory for President Trump, who is expected to sign the bill into law within days. It also delivers on a key campaign promise for the president, who pledged to expand veterans’ opportunities to get private sector care.” (“Senate Passes Major VA Overhaul; Trump Expected To Sign Into Law Within Days,” USA Today, 5/23/2018)

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Our nation’s all-volunteer armed forces consist of brave men and women who answer the call to serve often at personal risk. In gratitude for their selfless sacrifice, we promise them the accessible and quality care they have earned when they return home. Veterans of all eras rely on this promise as they carry home the physical and mental reminders of their service. But all too often, the VA has fallen short of meeting their needs…. So Chairman Isakson and his Veterans’ Affairs Committee colleagues took the lead developing this new legislation, which borrows elements from 15 different Senate-introduced bills. The victories it contains are numerous.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 5/23/2018)

SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON (R-GA), Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman: “We all know we have had the challenge to do better, and I submit that this is us doing our very best for those who have given everything for us…. The VA MISSION Act is an act that puts together and answers all of those questions that have been long on the front page of the newspapers for the last 2 or 3 years….” (Sen. Isakson, Congressional Record, S. 2806-7, 5/22/2018)

  • SEN. ISAKSON: “[The VA MISSION Act is a v]ote for better healthcare for our veterans, the choices of our veterans, caregivers for our veterans who haven't had them in the past…. And with your vote for that bill here, we will have to continue to pay our debt to those who sacrificed or offered to sacrifice the maximum sacrifice for us.” (Sen. Isakson, Congressional Record, S. 2821, 5/22/2018)


VA MISSION Act Funds And Streamlines VA Choice, Extends Caregiver Assistance To Vets Of All Eras, And Plans To ‘Optimize And Modernize VA’s Medical Care Facilities’

THIRTY-EIGHT VETERANS & MILITARY SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS: “This historic veterans legislation would consolidate and reform VA’s community care programs; extend funding for the current Veterans Choice Program for one year; strengthen VA’s ability to recruit, hire and retain quality medical personnel; review, realign and modernize VA’s health care infrastructure; and extend eligibility to VA’s comprehensive caregiver assistance program to aging and disabled veterans injured before September 11, 2001.”  (Veterans and Military Service Organizations, Letter to Sens. Isakson and Tester and Reps. Roe and Walz, 5/07/2018)

  • “The legislation, dubbed the VA Mission Act, is the culmination of nearly a year of work on the contentious issue of VA community care. More than one-third of all VA-funded medical appointments last year took place in offices outside the Veterans Health Administration, but administration officials have pushed for more access to private-sector doctors to increase options for veterans facing long waits or travel for federal care. In 2014, lawmakers passed the VA Choice program with that same idea. The program handles around 30,000 outside medical appointments a day … The VA Mission Act includes $5.2 billion in bridge funding to keep that program running for another year, until it is consolidated with other department care programs. That consolidation is expected to simplify and expand the rules for accessing outside care, but still keeping VA officials involved in veterans’ over health care plans.” (“Sweeping Veterans Policy Bill Passed Overwhelmingly In The House,” Military Times, 5/17/2018)

SEN. ISAKSON: “It creates a caregiver program for the Vietnam-era veterans. That hasn't been talked about much on the floor, but Patty Murray on our committee and Susan Collins from the Republican caucus in the Senate have for years tried to get caregiver benefits for Vietnam-era veterans and veterans of other wars which were not covered previously. With the passage of this bill, they will be covered for those basic essentials of life and necessities. They will have that covered for them, and we will get it done.” (Sen. Isakson, Congressional Record, S. 2821, 5/22/2018)

VETERANS & MILITARY SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS: “The legislation also includes a new Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) process intended to design and implement a comprehensive plan to optimize and modernize VA’s medical care facilities. The AIR process would provide meaningful stakeholder involvement, transparency and other safeguards during the review process to help ensure the final result leads to a stronger and better aligned VA infrastructure able to deliver care to veterans when and where they need it.” (Veterans and Military Service Organizations, Letter to Sens. Isakson and Tester and Reps. Roe and Walz, 5/07/2018)

“The bill also includes some incentives to help the VA hire more health care providers. It allows the agency to provide scholarships to medical students in exchange for their pledging to work at VA.” (“Senate Passes Major VA Overhaul; Trump Expected To Sign Into Law Within Days,” USA Today, 5/23/2018)



Related Issues: Veterans, Health Care