Cook FOR Veterans
Access to Care
D.C. ____ Wednesday July 30, 2014, Representative Paul Cook (R – Apple Valley)
voted in support of H.R. 3230 - Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice,
Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014. This bill, which passed the House
with wide bipartisan support, is the result of an agreement reached between the
House and Senate to reform the Veterans’ Administration (VA). This reform bill
will reduce wait times, improve care, and provide accountability by fixing
three important areas of the VA.
First, this bill allows veterans to seek care from the private sector if they live forty miles away
from a VA medical facility or have been assigned a wait time longer than thirty
days. This will give veterans access to quality care within a reasonable time-frame.
It will also improve the quality of care by providing rehabilitation, quality
of life, and community integration services to veterans with traumatic brain
injuries and will improve the delivery of care to veterans who experienced
military sexual trauma.
Second, this bill will bring accountability
to the VA by giving the Secretary authority to fire Senior Executive
Service Employees for poor performance or misconduct. It also reduces bonuses
given to VA employees by $40 million every year. Despite the multitude of
serious and even deadly issues at the VA, senior executives were awarded
millions in bonuses. This provision will ensure that these funds are applied to
veteran care, not bureaucrats.
Finally, this bill requires public universities to guarantee veterans receive in-state tuition
while using the G.I. Bill. It also provides full Post-9/11 G.I. Bill
benefits to spouses of service members who died in the line of duty after 9/11.
Cook said, “The VA has failed our veterans for too long, and this
bill holds them accountable while providing the reforms and resources needed to
care for America’s veterans. I’m thrilled to have supported a bill that takes a
huge step in the right direction for our veterans. I’ll continue to work to
ensure the VA never again forgets its mission to serve our nation’s heroes.”