The Trump Administration Is Sabotaging Veterans’ Access to Health Care

From the Washington Monthly

The Trump Administration Is Sabotaging Veterans’ Access to Health Care

In a push toward privatization, the VA is actively undermining a law the president put into place.
by Suzanne Gordon and Jasper Craven
September 13, 2019

On June 6, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs deployed seven staffers to five veterans’ hospitals across the country. Their goal: to monitor the rollout of a new law set to accelerate the outsourcing of hundreds of thousands of veterans served by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to private-sector providers.

But this critical monitoring work was actively undermined by officials inside the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). According to a House report obtained by the Washington Monthly, Congressional staff faced “coordinated and unprecedented obstruction” by national VA staff in these oversight efforts.

For months, lawmakers had been largely frozen out of efforts to build the programs and write the rules to implement this law, formally called the VA Mission Act, leading to widespread concern among both legislators and veterans’ advocacy groups. But in early June, when the staffers were able to exercise limited oversight to find out what was truly happening, their fears were confirmed. “VA did not adequately prepare facilities, providers, or veterans for the transition,” their report reads.

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