On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed the Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act during a small ceremony at the White House. The law extends the “Veterans Choice” pilot program which allows veterans to seek care at private hospitals and doctors instead of their local VA clinics and hospitals. While surrounded by veterans during the ceremony, Trump referred to the Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act, also known as S.544, as “such an important bill.”
“The veterans have poured out their sweat and blood and tears for this country for so long, and it’s time that they’re recognized, and it’s time that we now take care of them, and take care of them properly,” President Trump said, after acknowledging that the Department of Veterans Affairs has been seeing “progress” and improvements under new VA Secretary David Shulkin.
“That’s why I’m pleased today to sign into law the Veterans Choice Program Improvement Act,” the President continued. “So this is called the Choice Program Improvement Act. It speaks for itself. This bill will extend and improve the Veterans Choice Program so that more veterans can see the doctor of their choice — you got it?”
Trump acknowledged that the bill would help work towards solving the problem of veterans having to travel long distances just to seek care.
“The doctor of their choice — and don’t have to wait and travel long distances for VA care,” Trump said. “Some people have to travel five hours, eight hours, and they’ll have to do it on a weekly basis, and even worse than that. It’s not going to happen anymore.”
The President also said that while there is still much work to do to improve the VA, “this new law is a good start.”
“We will fight each and every day to deliver the long-awaited reforms our veterans deserve, and to protect those who have so courageously protected each and every one of us,” he said.
Watch President Trump speak and sign the Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act below: