Sen. Marsha Blackburn Rips Veteran Care Backlog Under Biden

sen marsha blackburn rips veteran care backlog under biden
Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said her legislation would solve the Veterans Administration (VA) backlog on her podcast, Unmuted with Marsha. 

Blackburn discussed veterans’ issues with Malachias Gaskin, a Tennessee resident, and veteran.

The Tennessee senator noted that the VA Mission Act was signed in 2019, which was intended to increase access to veteran care in their local area. Gaskin said that he often has to travel far to receive healthcare treatment.

Blackburn said the VA has a backlog of roughly 250,000 cases.

Blackburn said that receiving access to direct primary care can take 30 days to 75 days in Tennessee for an initial appointment.

She mentioned that her VA Health Freedom Act, which was also sponsored by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), would take the VA out of the community care referral process. Gaskin described the current process as very “mixed.”

Russ Duerstine, the deputy director of Concerned Veterans for America, said in a statement backing the legislation:

As a senior official at VA when the MISSION Act took effect, I saw firsthand how difficult implementation could be even when the staff was committed to veterans’ choice. Today, we see disturbing signs that VA’s commitment to ‘choice’ is waning. Veterans need smart legislation to protect veterans’ choice — not a bureaucracy. That’s how to put veterans truly in charge of their health care decisions.

The legislation, according to a press release, would:

  • Create a three-year pilot program within the VA Center for Innovation Care and Payment to improve veterans’ accessibility to health care in the free market;
  • Require that the pilot program be carried out in at least four Veteran Integrated Service Networks (VISN);
  • Improve access to free market health care by allowing veterans to access primary, specialty, and mental care outside of their corresponding VISN and at non-VA facilities;
  • Requires the VA to give veterans information about eligibility, cost sharing, treatments, and providers so that they are able to make informed decisions with respect to selection of primary and specialty care providers and other available treatments;
  • Makes the pilot program permanent nationwide four years after enactment of the Veterans Health Care Freedom Act;
  • Requires the VA to submit reports to House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees on the implementation and results of the pilot program, as well as the final design;
  • Gives the VA the option to prescribe regulations in consultation with the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees; and
  • Funds the pilot program using appropriations otherwise made available to the Veterans Health Administration.

“We owe it to our veterans to provide them with timely access to quality care,” Blackburn said in a 2022 statement.

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

Authored by Sean Moran via Breitbart July 5th 2023