March 04, 2015

Ensure Veterans Can Receive Care | Wheeling Intelligencer/News-Register

One issue - doing right by veterans of military service - erases party lines, as far as many members of Congress are concerned. U.S. Sens. Shelley Capito, R-W.Va., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., are among those who feel that is appropriate.

The two were among 42 senators signing a letter sent to Veterans' Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald, in reference to the "Veterans Choice Card" program.

Congress approved the program - along with about $10 billion to fund it - after hearing outrageous reports of veterans being forced to wait for medical care through the VA. The Choice Card program allows some veterans to get care from private providers rather than the VA.

However, it appears the program is not working as well as many lawmakers had hoped. As Manchin and Capito put it in a press release, "many veterans in West Virginia and across the nation ... are still being excluded from this program."

Capito, Manchin and others who signed the letter simply want the Choice Card program to ensure veterans who need medical care get it. If the VA cannot - or will not - do that, it may be time to demand a top-to-bottom housecleaning at the agency.