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The Latest: House agrees to expand private care for veterans

By: Associated Press
May 16, 2018 Updated: May 16, 2018 at 5:46 pm
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the House vote on a bill that would expand private care for veterans (all times local):

6: 45 p.m.

The House has voted to give veterans more freedom to see doctors outside the Veterans Affairs health system. It's a major shift aimed at reducing wait times and improving medical care despite the concerns of some Democrats who cast the effort as a risky step toward dismantling the agency.

The plan seeks to fulfill President Donald Trump's promise to expand private care to veterans whenever they feel unhappy with VA health care.

The bill passed 347-70.

The long-awaited measure would change how veterans receive their medical care by allowing them to go to a private physician when they felt government-run VA medical centers couldn't provide the care they needed, with the approval of a VA health provider.

___

12:01 p.m.

The House is set to give veterans more leeway to see doctors outside the Department of Veterans Affairs' health system.

It's part of an effort to fulfill President Donald Trump's promise to expand private care for veterans.

The long-awaited plan — set for a House vote later Wednesday — would mean a major change in how veterans receive medical care.

If a VA health provider gives the OK, then veterans could go to a private doctor when they felt dissatisfied with government-run VA care. This is something Democrats fear is a risky step toward "privatizing" VA care.

The House vote also would avert a shutdown of VA's Choice private-sector program. It'll run out of money as early as May 31, causing disruptions in care to tens of thousands of patients.

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