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Senators Reach Agreement on VA Health Care Access Legislation

June 6, 2014—Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) June 5 announced a “bipartisan agreement to improve veterans’ access to health care and address serious problems facing the Department of Veterans Affairs [VA].”

The framework for agreement would allow veterans experiencing long wait times or living 40 miles from a VA hospital or clinic to see Medicare providers or use federally qualified health centers, Department of Defense facilities, or Indian Health Centers.

Among other provisions, the proposed bill includes:

  • Expedited authority to hire more VA doctors and nurses, using $500 million in unobligated VA funds;
  • 26 major medical facility leases; and
  • In-state tuition for all veterans at public colleges or universities.

The bill is based on separate proposals put forth by Sen. McCain, Chairman Sanders, and the House-passed VA Administration overhaul bill (H.R. 4031), sponsored by House VA Committee Chair Jeff Miller (R-Fla.).


Matthew Shick, JD
Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs
Telephone: 202-862-6116


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806