Trump-tapped group presents plan for sweeping VA reforms


Trump-tapped group presents plan for sweeping VA reforms

by: Nikki Wentling | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: January 20, 2017

WASHINGTON – As Donald Trump takes the oath of office Friday, a conservative-backed group that has gained more influence since the election is renewing its effort to transfer oversight of Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities to a government-chartered nonprofit. It’s also seeking to expand veterans’ private-sector health care options.

Concerned Veterans for America has proposed the ideas before, creating consternation among more established veterans organizations that feared too much of an expansion into the private sector would drain the VA of resources. A bipartisan, CVA-commissioned task force outlined a plan for significant changes at the VA in 2015, and it was unveiled as draft legislation by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., in June 2016.

The bill, titled the “Caring for Our Heroes in the 21st Century Act,” never went anywhere. But since then --- with Trump calling for an overhaul of the department and tapping one of CVA’s senior advisers to his transition team – group leaders say they have more leverage.

“They’ve already embraced some of the concepts we support,” said Dan Caldwell, CVA’s director of policy. “I think they are open to these ideas.”

CVA leaders will share – in person -- their top priorities for VA reform with transition officials, lawmakers and VA leadership.

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