Cassidy measure would make seniors eligible for VA Choice Program

A measure introduced by U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) on Thursday aims to make it easier for elderly veterans to receive health care closer to their homes.

Cassidy’s measure would expand access to the Veterans Affairs (VA) Choice Program established under the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014. All veterans over the age of 75 would be eligible for the VA Choice Program.

“No veteran should have to travel far from home to receive quality care — especially those over 75 who might not have the same flexibility to get to the doctor,” Cassidy said. “By expanding the Veterans Affairs Choice Program, more veterans will have access to timely health care options without having to travel far. The VA’s first priority should always be the veteran and how to best serve them — this bill better serves them.”

Under current VA Choice Program requirements, only veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility, or those who have been awaiting care for at least 30 days, are eligible for the VA Choice Program. There are no age requirements.

The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act was signed into law by President Obama in 2014 in the wake of the VA scandal and subsequent audits revealing that more than 120,000 veterans were waiting for or never received care. The VA Choice Program improves veterans’ access to proper care by ensuring they do not have to travel long distances simply to receive care at a VA facility and reducing the amount of time veterans spend on waiting lists for health care.

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