Trump Administration’s Plan to Expand Private Care for Vets Sparks Fight Over VA's Future

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The Trump administration has issued its plan to streamline and expand its programs allowing veterans to receive health care from the private sector, igniting the first spark in an upcoming fight on the future of the government’s role in providing care to former military personnel.

The Veterans Affairs Department wants to “merge and modernize” the array of programs allowing patients to receive care outside of VA providers, according to a framework of the Veterans Coordinated Access and Rewarding Experiences (CARE) Act department officials presented to Congress this week. The measure would eliminate rules for the Veterans Choice Program that require a veteran to live 40 miles from a VA facility or face a 30-day wait to receive care at one in order to become eligible for private care on the department’s dime. That program, created by a law President Obama signed in 2014, got off to a rocky start but has since gained popularity.