Veterans health legislation on fast track

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Veterans’ Affairs Committee senators are wrestling with legislation to reform the Veterans Choice program with the hope of unveiling an agreement in the coming days to fix the troubled health benefit.

Senate Democrats led by Jon Tester of Montana introduced a bill, S 2633, on March 3 to consolidate a number of VA community care health programs under a single Veterans Choice umbrella and change the contracting process that uses third-party administrators to manage the program’s scheduling and billing processes.

North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr and fellow Republicans have sponsored the Veterans Choice Improvement Act, S 2646, which also would consolidate veterans community care programs and reform the payment processes but includes other provisions, such as stringent requirements on reimbursement rates and a mandate that VA hire vetsprovide compensation to veterans within 90 days of determining that the former service member has a presumptive health condition.

Burr said Tuesday his legislation would make it easier for veterans to understand their health care options and receive treatment.

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