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Senate Deal Aims to Reduce Wait Times for Vet Medical Care; Bernie Sanders Comments

Capitol_BuildingA bipartisan agreement was reached in the Senate Thursday to provide military veterans an option to receive medical care at hospitals other than those run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

Ed O’Keefe writes the deal seeks to address lengthy wait times for service members and their families seeking care from VA health facilities.

“Right now we have a crisis on our hands and it’s imperative that we deal with that crisis,” said Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, according to the Post.

The bill would also provide VA with $500 million in funds to hire additional physicians and nurses nationwide to meet veterans’ medical needs.

O’Keefe reports the agreement is also designed to give VA authority to lease 26 hospitals across 18 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked his fellow lawmakers to speed up their consideration of the bill.

“Can we sort of pledge that we are committed to seeing this all the way through? I would urge our colleagues to do that,” McCain said, according to the newspaper.

“Let’s not get hung up on certain other aspects of our differences that most people would view as gridlock in this body,” he added.

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