US Senate backs bill on health care for vets

by Matthew Daly
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 10, 2014, after a Democratic caucus lunch. Responding to the public outcry over lax care at Veterans Affairs health facilities, leaders of both parties plan debate soon on a bill to help vets waiting for months to get medical appointments. The House of Representatives advanced a VA reform bill today that passed 421-0. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Senate has approved a bill making it easier for veterans who have endured long wait times for VA medical care to receive treatment from local doctors instead. The measure closely resembles a bill approved Tuesday in the House. Lawmakers say they are optimistic a compromise version can soon be sent to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The Senate bill, approved 93-3, would authorize about $35 billion over three years to pay for the outside care, hire hundreds of doctors and nurses and lease 26 new health facilities in 17 states and Puerto Rico.

The Veterans Affairs Department released an audit this week showing that more than 57,000 veterans have had to wait at least three months for initial appointments. Some vets who asked for appointments never got them.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and GOP lawmakers, from left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, face reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 10, 2014, after a Republican caucus meeting. Responding to the public outcry over lax care at Veterans Affairs health facilities, leaders of both parties plan debate soon on a bill to help vets waiting for months to get medical appointments. The House of Representatives advanced a VA reform bill today that passed 421-0. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The controversy over veterans' care could provide Republicans with an issue to criticize Democrats ahead of congressional elections in November. It is also a headache for Obama, who had to accept the resignation of the Veterans Affairs secretary, Eric Shinseki, on May 30 and is actively seeking someone to replace him after the leading candidate pulled out, citing the prospect of a bitter confirmation hearing

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US audit: 57,000 vets await initial medical visits

Jun 09, 2014

More than 57,000 U.S. military veterans have been waiting for 90 days or more for medical appointments, the Veterans Affairs Department said in a wide-ranging audit released Monday. An additional 64,000 who ...

Obama health care nominee withdraws

Jun 06, 2014

President Barack Obama's choice to be the top health official at the embattled Veterans Affairs Department has withdrawn his nomination.

US House votes to ensure speedier care for US vets

Jun 10, 2014

The U.S. House overwhelmingly approved legislation Tuesday to make it easier for patients enduring long waits for care at Veterans Affairs facilities to get VA-paid treatment from local doctors.

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

13 hours ago

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

14 hours ago

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

14 hours ago

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments