House Passes Cook-Sponsored Bill to Increase Veterans Access to Care
Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R – Apple Valley) voted in favor of H.R. 4810, the Veterans Access to Care Act, a bipartisan bill that easily passed in the House of Representatives. This bill will give veterans immediate access to care from the private sector. The Veterans Access to Care Act allows veterans who have been forgotten to receive the medical care they desperately need.
Under this legislation, veterans may now seek care from the private sector under the following circumstances: when they reside more than 40 miles from the nearest VA facility, when they have waited longer for an appointment than the established wait time goals, or when they have been notified that an appointment is unavailable within the VA wait time goals. The VA will be required to report to Congress every quarter on the care provided under this authority and enter a contract with a third party or parties to assess the quality of care. Performance awards and bonuses for VA employees will be suspended for the next two years.
Cook said, “For veterans, our government should never be the enemy. Clearly, the VA isn't getting the job done and now we are in crisis mode. The House has acted to help our veterans, and now it’s time for the Senate to join us in passing this bipartisan bill.”
A member of the House Veterans’ Affairs, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.