Obama endorses plan for federal/private coordination of veterans' care
- In preparation for a congressional hearing on the subject slated for this Wednesday, President Obama responded to a list of suggestions to improve veterans' healthcare proposed by the VA Commission on Care.
- Obama endorsed 15 of the panel's 18 recommendations, including one that would create a new, broader network of medical care for veterans that would include Department of Defense medical facilities as well as private physicians and hospitals credentialed by the Veterans Health Administration.
- Among the proposals Obama rejected was one aimed at implementing a new board of directors to oversee healthcare at the Department of Veterans Affairs, arguing that it would undermine the authority of the Secretary and noting that the DOJ had advised it “would violate the appointments clause of the Constitution.”
Obama has previously rejected calls for the privatization of the VA as a solution, while conceding there's still "a lot of work to do" to ensure veterans' healthcare needs will actually be met.
The panel's new recommendation for coordinating both VA and private healthcare options would replace the VA Choice Program, which was created in 2014 and expanded in 2015 to allow veterans who face specifically outlined "undue burdens" in obtaining care under the VA to obtain care outside the VA health system.
Obama agreed with those on the panel who argued the current Choice system is flawed in both design and execution, the Times reported. He also highlighted the need to maintain the VA healthcare system at the core of the solution, saying that it "provides unique, highly specialized care for many medical conditions, such as spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, which are simply not available to the same extent outside of VA."
- The Washington Times Obama rejects panel’s proposal for more oversight of VA health care system
- Federal News Radio Obama weighs in on VA Commission’s health care suggestions