Seminole, FL – Congressman David Jolly (FL-13) has introduced the Veterans Health Care Freedom Act, (H.R. 3183), which creates a true choice for veterans, with no geographic or provider restrictions. The legislation will give every veteran a new ‘Freedom Card’ to offer them the opportunity to receive hospital care and medical services from non-VA health providers regardless of proximity to, or wait times at, a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facility.
“This bill will finally empower all veterans with the ability to choose where they receive their health care services, protect veterans from being forced to remain in a VA health system that at times has failed them, and inject competition into the VHA. Simply put, the bill gives veterans the option of receiving their health care through providers in their communities or within the VHA facilities at the full discretion of each veteran,” Jolly said.
The legislation also seeks to tie future funding for specific VA hospitals to the rate of patient attrition at each facility as a result of implementation of the new ‘Freedom Card.’ “Very simply, if a hospital or facility sees a decline in patient load because veterans leave the system and choose private care, then the hospital budget should be reduced proportionately,” Jolly said.
Jolly has consistently said during the VA scandal that a true choice card is needed to ensure our American heroes get the health care they deserve.
In September, the Florida congressman secured an admission under oath by Assistant Inspector General of the VA Dr. John Daigh, that VA wait times contributed to the deaths of veterans.
“While the Veterans Choice Program was a step in the right direction, it failed to go far enough in providing our nation’s heroes with the freedom to receive the health care that they choose, they deserve and have earned. This is a common sense measure that is overdue,” Jolly added.
Additionally, the bill reinforces the current prompt payment requirements that the VA is legally bound to comply with, in order to ensure that the non-VA providers are reimbursed for their services in a timely manner.
Preston Rudie, Communications Dir.