McCain defends Veterans Choice program amid overhaul

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Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the 800-page immigration reform bill proposed by a bipartisan group of senators a "fair, comprehensive and practical solution" to a difficult problem.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the 800-page immigration reform bill proposed by a bipartisan group of senators a "fair, comprehensive and practical solution" to a difficult problem.

By Travis J. Tritten

Sen. John McCain on Thursday defended his troubled Veterans Choice program as the Senate prepares the first comprehensive private-care reform since the program was created in 2014.

McCain, R-Ariz., took to the Senate floor to lay blame for the program’s widespread failure to deliver private care on the Department of Veterans Affairs, and to again call for Veterans Choice to become permanent despite its dysfunction.

Lawmakers have struck a deal to streamline the patchwork of Choice programs around the country after complaints from frustrated veterans unable to get care, but details of the final proposal have not been released. The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, chaired by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., could unveil a bill within the next two hire vetsweeks, according to congressional staff.





“There should be no doubt that the VA is failing to fully and effectively implement the Choice card,” McCain said, speaking of the private-care program. “In doing so, it is preventing our veterans from receiving the flexible care they deserve.”

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