On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed the Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act, a bill to preserve a flawed but important program that represents a first step in enabling veterans to choose another health care option besides the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This reform will help address the heinous problem of veterans dying while waiting in line for care.
"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 that we now take care of them and take care of them properly," President Trump declared. He explained that the goal of the act is to enable veterans to "see the doctor of their choice" and avoid having to "wait and travel long distances for VA care."
No one's pretending this is all the reform the VA needs.
While the bill represented an accomplishment, everyone at the signing agreed it was a mere first step toward the larger goal.
"This was a very important bill to get started with," Congressman Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) explained. "What we want to do is put the veterans in charge of these choices, not the bureaucracy."
Mark Lucas, executive director at Concerned Veterans for America (CVA), attended the ceremony and hailed the legislation. "President Trump is upholding the promises he made to veterans and we applaud him for continuing to make them a priority," Lucas said in a statement. "However, there is more to be done."