The two chambers passed different versions of the measure, which would allow veterans to seek care outside of the veterans' system if they faced long waits at a VA facility.
The Associated Press: House, Senate Begins Compromise Talks On Vets Bill
House and Senate negotiators opened compromise talks Tuesday on legislation to expand health care for veterans, and said they hope for quick response to a scandal that has uncovered long wait times, false record-keeping and accusations of criminal activity at the Department of Veterans Affairs. At their core, the bills passed by the House and Senate would allow millions of former members of the armed forces to seek health care outside the government's veterans system if they were unable to get a timely appointment inside it (Espo, 6/24).
Reuters: Lawmakers Slam Veterans Health Bill Cost Estimate
Cost estimates of up to $50 billion a year for a veterans emergency medical care bill drew sharp criticism on Tuesday from lawmakers who said they were grossly inflated and would complicate negotiations over final details of the legislation. The measure, with slightly differing versions passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives, would allow veterans a two-year period to seek private care at the Department of Veteran Affairs' expense if forced to endure long waits at the agency's facilities or if they live more than 40 miles away (Lawder, 6/24).