Sen. Tom Carper released a statement May 24 after Senate passage of the Department of Veterans Affairs Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018, also known as the VA Mission Act.

Absent Congressional action, the VA Choice Program was expected to run out of funds in less than two weeks. The VA Mission Act funds the VA Choice Program for another year and will consolidate the existing non-VA health care programs, including Choice, into the new Veterans Community Care Program. The legislation also expands the VA Caregiver Support Program, which supports families and individuals that care for our veterans.

“We have a sacred obligation to provide timely access to high-quality health care to every veteran. While the VA Choice Program isn’t perfect, Delaware veterans have increasingly relied on non-VA health care options to complement their existing VA health care coverage since the program was established by Congress in 2014. I’m thankful that Congress has worked together on a bipartisan basis to ensure funding for the Choice Program for another year, while also enacting important reforms to veterans’ programs, including beginning the transition to the new Veterans Community Care Program,” said Carper.

“By streamlining existing non-VA health care options into one central program, this bill will address some of the criticisms of the Choice Program, take misguided attempts to ‘privatize’ the VA off the table and, ultimately, improve access to health care for veterans in Delaware and across the country. My hope is that the VA Mission Act will help advance the VA’s mission to care for those who have borne the battle. I now look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in Congress and our Veterans Service Organizations to do right by our veterans to make sure that the VA budget is fully funded for the upcoming fiscal year,” said Carper.