Wagner Statement on Bipartisan VA Reform Proposal

Jul 28, 2014
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Ann Wagner released the following statement after Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL) outlined a bipartisan agreement to reform the VA: 

“Our veterans deserve the highest quality of care.  Today’s announcement of a bipartisan, bicameral deal is an important step in providing superior, private-sector care for our nation’s heroes,” said Rep. Ann Wagner.  “This bipartisan agreement would allow any veteran forced to wait more than thirty days for an appointment or located more than 40 miles from a VA facility, the option to receive private-sector care.  This proposal would also allow the Secretary of the VA to fire employees that fail to fulfill the VA’s pledge to excellence.  As a mother of a soldier serving in the 101st Airborne, I believe it is our moral responsibility to protect those that have sacrificed so much to defend our freedom.  Today’s agreement is a major step in honoring that sacred pledge.”  

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Background:

Total Cost:  $12 billion

•    $10 billion for new private care option for veterans

•    $5 billion for improvements within the VA

  •          $5 billion in offsets


•    To qualify for the private care option, veterans would have to be experiencing long wait times or be located more than 40 miles from a VA facility.  

•    They would be able to access providers who already participate in Medicare.  

•    The compromise legislation also permits the VA secretary to dismiss or downgrade employees in an expedited fashion based on performance or misconduct.  

•    It would also prevent wait-time metrics from being used in determining a VA employee’s eligibility for a bonus, and would authorize the VA to enter into 27 major medical facility leases throughout the country.