National commander: VA legislation 'a fair compromise'

H.R. 5674, the VA MISSION Act, provides necessary and critical improvements to Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) current community care programs, expands the veteran caregiver program, and reviews the VA’s national infrastructure inventory. It also provides a responsible, long-term funding solution to the Veterans Choice Program.

The American Legion was instrumental in the creation of the VA following World War One, and we have nearly 100 years of history working to ensure its success. Our two million members believe the VA remains the best place for veterans to receive care for their illnesses and injuries. The VA is more than a healthcare system. It is a symbol of America’s commitment to our veterans, and it is a community where veterans care for each other.

The American Legion fully supports funding the VA system to ensure our veterans receive the care they richly deserve. We also strongly urge the VA to fill the more than 30,000 vacancies throughout the department to increase their organic capacity to deliver healthcare and benefits. When VA care is unavailable, we support the use of non-VA providers. We also believe the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs must remain the gatekeeper for healthcare and that veterans should not be expected to pay for care related to their service-connected disabilities.

We believe this legislation, as currently written, represents a fair compromise that will help to strengthen veterans’ healthcare for future generations while ensuring that veterans’ caregivers of all generations get the support they deserve.