House lawmakers passed a $52 billion veterans package Wednesday that would overhaul outside medical care options for veterans, Military Times reported.
The White House touted the Mission Act as helping "to ensure that veterans choose the V.A. by getting them the right care at the right time with the right provider."
It is expected to move quickly through the Senate, with that chamber's top Democrat on veterans issues — Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. — saying he supports the package, and Republicans in the chamber already offering support, Military Times reported.
"Opponents of this bill will tell you, falsely, that it is aimed at eventual privatization of the VA health care system," House Veterans' Affairs Committee chair Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., said before the vote, Military Times reported. "That misconception is based on nothing but fear and rhetoric.
"A yes vote is a vote for access, for quality, for choice, for the long-term success and sustainability of the VA healthcare system, for caregivers, and for veterans."
Lawmakers have until the end of the month to finalize legislation, including funding for the controversial Choice program — or risk disrupting care fortens of thousands of vets using the account, the news outlet reported.
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