President Donald Trump took another step toward ensuring that the country’s veterans can receive health care when they need it.
On Wednesday, the president signed legislation that temporarily expands a program at the Department of Veterans Affairs that allows patients to seek care from private doctors if they opt to bypass the VA’s broken system.
The Veterans Choice Improvement Act allows the VA to continue operating its Choice Program beyond the Aug. 7 expiration date, ABC News reported. The program will now operate until funding for it runs out, which is expected early next year.
The extension allows VA Secretary David Shulkin time to develop a plan that allows veterans the ability to seek medical care outside the VA.
As he signed the bill, Trump said the program will continue to be able to see “the doctor of their choice” and noted that veterans have “not been taken care of properly.”
“You got it? The doctor of their choice,” he repeated, according to The Associated Press.
Shulkin, who was present when Trump signed the bill, said the money was needed to pay for stopgap services while he worked out a better plan, which he said was due in the fall.
Congress would then have to approve any changes made to the VA health system.
Policy Director at Concerned Veterans for America Dan Caldwell said the program was a good first step.
“Extending the Choice Program is the right thing to do, but only as a stopgap measure until better solutions are developed and implemented,” he said, according to the Washington Examiner.
It certainly is the right thing to do, and it’s good to see Trump following through on his word to help improve health care for veterans.
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