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Tester: VA 'Choice Card' Program Needs Work

Sen. Jon Tester (D) Montana
Courtesy photo

Senator Jon Tester says the Veterans Administration’s new Choice Card program got off to a  “shaky” start. The Choice Card is a new program that lets veterans use private medical care if their nearest VA facility is too busy or too far away.

Speaking to reporters Thursday in Washington, the Montana Democrat said the VA hasn’t done a good job of working with veterans’ groups and health care providers to make sure vets know how to use their Choice Card.

"They need to utilize the veteran service organizations that are out there, whether it’s the Disabled American Veterans or the American Legion. And then we need to a better job building partnerships with the local hospitals and care providers in the different communities that the VA outsources some of their work to."

Tester also criticized the Republican-led Appropriations Committee for proposing a VA budget that, he says, under-funds the agency by close to a billion dollars.

Republican Senator Steve Daines Thursday took credit for adding “important reforms” to the VA budget, such as instructing the Veterans Affairs Secretary to give higher priority to rural states deciding where to place new veterans’ homes.

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