Trump signs bill aimed at better health care for veterans

President Donald Trump signed a bill this week aimed at providing better health care for U.S. military veterans, the Department of Defense announced Thursday.

The Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act, or S.544, which was signed Tuesday, will allow eligible veterans to receive health care in the civilian sector rather than from a Veterans Affairs Department provider.

“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 after signing the health care bill.

The president noted that some veterans travel upwards of five to eight hours for care at a VA facility and this is often done on a weekly basis.

“It’s not going to happen anymore,” Trump said.

While the bill does not affect those already enrolled in care, it does allow eligible veterans to choose a different provider if certain situations apply, such as appointments with a wait time of 30 days or more. In addition, several qualifying “excessive travel burdens,” such as living more than 40 miles from a VA facility, could allow veterans to choose a participating provider closer to home.

Specific requirements and additional information can be found on the Veterans Choice Program website.

“This new law is a good start, but there is still much work to do,” Trump concluded. “We will fight each and every day to deliver the long-awaited reforms our veterans deserve, and to protect those who have so courageously protected each and every one of us.”