DENVER (CBS4)– Access to medical care for U.S veterans has been an important issue in Washington since 2014. That’s when a TV news investigation found that veterans were waiting so long for care that in some cases they were dying before they ever were seen by a doctor.
That spurred the Choice Act, which gave veterans access to VA-certified health care providers outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Jennifer Burch, an Air Force veteran, says the Choice Act was a great first step, but it wasn’t enough.
“I compared it to putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound,” said Burch.
Since it was enacted, the Choice Act has proved to be problematic and today, even though vets can see VA approved private sector doctors, they are still waiting a long time to get access to the healthcare they need.
Burch echoes the sentiment of many veterans across the nation, “It’s frustrating! It’s completely frustrating and it’s unacceptable.”
Wednesday President Trump signed the Mission Act which will replace 2014’s Choice Act. It will expand veterans’ access to private-sector health care, and it paves the way for an overhaul of the VA.
Burch says bringing in more options for veteran healthcare will reduce wait times and increase the number of veterans that use their VA benefits.
“It’s community over competition. Let’s all work together as a community and bring it together,” said Burch. “I think this is a step in the right direction of fixing that and today we’re seeing more veterans using the VA.”