House votes to ensure speedier care for US vets

first_imgWASHINGTON — United in response to a national uproar, Congress is suddenly moving quickly to address military veterans’ long waits for care at VA hospitals.The House unanimously approved legislation Tuesday to make it easier for patients enduring lengthy delays for initial visits to get VA-paid treatment from local doctors instead. The Senate was poised to vote on a similar bill within 48 hours, said Democratic leader Harry Reid.The legislation comes close on the heels of a Veterans Affairs Department audit showing that more than 57,000 new applicants for care have had to wait at least three months for initial appointments and an additional 64,000 newly enrolled vets who requested appointments never got them.“I cannot state it strongly enough — this is a national disgrace,” said Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chief author of the House legislation. Miller made his comments minutes before the House completed the first of two votes on its measure. Lawmakers approved the bill 421-0, then re-voted a little over an hour later, making sure no one was left out on the politically important vote, with five more in favor and no one against. Miller sheepishly admitted the reason for the second vote: He was in his office and missed the first tally.last_img

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