“Our veterans are the finest among us and deserve high quality health care. The VA has not been delivering on that promise because it is a bureaucratic, government-run health care system that is broken. I was an original cosponsor of the McCain-Coburn-Burr-Flake Veterans Choice Act that provided common-sense reforms. It would have remedied the health care crisis for our vets by giving them the freedom to choose where to access health care when they either lived too far away from existing VA facilities or their appointment waiting times were excessive. It would have prioritized veterans by allowing Congress to cut lower-priority spending.
“But instead of taking the time to thoughtfully consider all the ramifications, Harry Reid rushed a different bill onto the floor of the Senate without even an estimate of its cost. Less than 30 minutes before the vote, the CBO, Congress’ nonpartisan accountants, provided a preliminary, partial estimate showing this bill would add another $35 billion to the VA budget in just the first two and a quarter years, and $50 billion per year after that.
“This legislation doesn’t fix the systemic problems or ensure our veterans get quality, on-time health care. It does spend more money to expand a broken system. Our veterans deserve better than this bill provides. I hope a more careful cost analysis and the Senate/House conference process will produce legislation I can support.”