Congress allows the VA to dip into Vet Choice money

| July 31, 2015

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs threatened to start closing medical facilities if Congress wouldn’t allow them to take money out of the Veterans’ Choice Program, you know, that program that is less than a year old and was supposed to relieve pressure from an over-booked healthcare system. So, Congress folded like Kmart lawnchairs.

“While I was disappointed to see the VA use scare tactics and threaten to close hospitals as a way to shift away blame for their poor management, I was more than proud to cast my vote today to solve this issue,” said Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who sits on the Senate veterans committee.

VA Secretary Robert McDonald told Congress in hearings over the past month that the number of appointments at medical centers increased substantially after the agency moved to fix the scandal over manipulated wait times for patients to see their doctors.


“Without this legislation, the VA could run out of money by September,” said Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga. “Costs have exploded by more than 10 percent in the last year as a result of higher demand, while the budget increased by only 2.8 percent.”

So, the Veterans’ Choice Program was just a slush fund. The Veterans’ Choice Program hadn’t been fully implemented, there was no introduction to the program from the VA to veterans, before the White House was complaining that the program wasn’t working. They’ve been trying to raid the funds since Spring. And the rubber stamp Congress is more than willing to bend to whatever the White House wants.

Category: Veterans' Affairs Department

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
HMCS (FMF) ret.

Congress and the VA dorking vets in the squeakhole one more time! When does this crap end?


I have to say the VA has been very good to me, but I am speaking of our local clinic and the nearest hospital, but the A.H.’s at the top, are getting big assed bonus’ for doing nothing but screwing up the system, when these bonus’ could have been used to hire the needed people and run the operation! Choice was portioned out like it was a life saving serum, they didn’t want to give it out, now they want to put it back in the general fund? tells me, that was their freaking plan all along!


Stupid as hell. Number one, the Choice Program was a feel good, throw money at a problem that should have been fixed administratively. Two, they just “solved” poor management created problems by giving them more money to blow on waste, fraud, and abuse.



Anyone surprised?


There should be two “pot’s of money.” One to care for service connected veterans. The other for non-service connected veterans. Guess which one always gets funded?


I’d argue for one pot of VA Healthcare money, Jimv: for service-connected vets. And I’d argue that should be further restricted to be used for treatment for service connected conditions, 100% disabled vets, and former POWs (as verified by DoD, not the VA) ONLY.

IMO, this “free treatment for everyone because you’re a vet” crap is, well, crap. But that’s just me.


I don’t have a problem with non-service connected veterans receiving care. As a VA Volunteer the vast majority of patients I work with are in that category. As long as our service connected veterans are treated in a timely manner it’s fine.

As for myself, I am service connected but choose not to receive care at the VA. I have Tricare Prime as a military retiree


I do have a problem with that.

Taxpayers pay the bill for everything the VA does. The US government owes military retirees TRICARE. It owes vets with service connected conditions treatment for those conditions. It owes care to those who are 100% disabled due to service-connected injuries/conditions. I can even make an exception for former POWs who aren’t 100% disabled (they’ve IMO earned that) so long as DoD certifies them; the VA has proven it is incompetent to certify POWs accurately.

However, the US Government does not owe non-service-connected vets who are not retirees lifetime medical care. In my book, it also in general doesn’t owe service-connected vets care for non-service-connected conditions – because by definition it didn’t cause those. Only if they’re 100% disabled should they receive free care for everything.

Unless things have changed in the last 5 min, Uncle Sam is freaking flat broke and living on credit – and has been for at least a couple of decades. It can’t afford to keep giving away $$$ it doesn’t have to pay for things people can and should pay for themselves.

I’d really like my kids and grandkids to be able to afford something more to eat than corn flakes, and to live in a great nation. That’s not going to be the case in a few decades if Uncle Sam doesn’t get it’s financial house in order.

Guard Bum

Has anyone actually been able to use Vets Choice? I still have to drive 3 hours for even a routine x-ray.

Club Manager

Had a good one-on-one with Congressman French Hill of Arkansas’ 2nd Cong Dist a week ago. He sits on one of the committees involved with funding the VA. I gave him the straight skinny on both the broken Choice Program and the VA funding shell game. I’m worth $1800 a year to them if I use VA primary health care (which I don’t because I am retired mil) but only $200 to get my hearing aids or an eye exam. Congressman Hill is a very astute banker and a good guy. More of us need to talk one-on-one to those elected officials who care as opposed to just pay lip service.


I am shocked, shocked I tell you that there are shenanigans going on with Congress and the VA.

By the way Senator, here’s the plan for the new VA facility in your state…….