Cesar E. Chavez Elementary School Recognizes Local Veterans
Photos courtesy of Filadelfo Silva
In a stirring and moving ceremony the students and faculty of Caser E. Chavez school assembled early Thursday morning to honor our local veterans in what was described by many of the veterans as one of the most inspiring ceremonies they had ever attended.
Trump extends private-sector health care program for vets
President Trump signed a bill Wednesday (April 18) to temporarily extend a program that lets some veterans seek medical care in the private sector, part of an effort by the president to deliver on a campaign promise. The extension will give Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin time to develop a more comprehensive plan to allow veterans to more easily go outside the VA health system for care. Under the bill Trump signed into law, the VA will be allowed to continue operating its Choice Program until the funding runs out, which is expected early next year. The program was scheduled to expire on Aug. 7 with nearly $1 billion left over.
Trump said veterans have "not been taken care of properly" and that the program will continue to be able to see "the doctor of their choice."
"You got it? The doctor of their choice," he repeated for emphasis.
Shulkin, who attended the bill signing, has said the money is needed to pay for stopgap services while he works on the longer-term plan. He said Wednesday that the plan is due in the fall. Congress would have to approve any changes to the VA health system.
Shulkin said the extension is important because it gives veterans another avenue for care. "It's this approach where veterans can get care wherever they need it that really is the way that we're going to address all the needs and honor our commitments to our veterans," he said after Trump signed the bill.
The Choice Program was put in place after a 2014 scandal in which as many as 40 veterans died while waiting months to be scheduled for appointments at the Phoenix VA medical center.
The program is intended to provide more timely care by allowing veterans to go outside the VA network only in cases where they had to wait more than 30 days for an appointment or drive more than 40 miles to a facility. Yet the program itself often encountered long wait times of its own. The new law also calls for changes to alleviate some problems by speeding up VA payments and promoting greater sharing of medical records.