President Donald Trump signed a bill to extend the Veterans Choice Program at the Oval Office on Wednesday, inviting influential veterans groups to join him.
“The veterans have poured out their sweat and blood and tears for this country for so long, and it’s time that they’re recognized, and it’s time that we now take care of them, and take care of them properly,” Trump said.
The bill allows veterans to seek private care outside of the VA system, if they live more than 40 miles away from a VA hospital or can’t get an appointment within 30 days. Trump specifically thanked Senator John McCain and Senator Johnny Isakson for their work on the bill, as well as Rep. Phil Roe, the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.
“Some people have to travel five hours, eight hours, and they’ll have to do it on a weekly basis, and even worse than that,” Trump said. “It’s not going to happen anymore.”
Trump was joined by Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, who praised the bill.
“This is a good day for veterans,” he said. “This is a great day to celebrate not only what veterans have contributed to the country, but how we’re making things better for them.”
The extension of the bill passed by Congress authorized the sharing of medical records to hospitals outside the VA and modifies the procedures for reimbursement for private hospitals.