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Invited Commentary
Health Care Policy and Law
July 22, 2019

Implications for Veterans’ Health Care: The Danger Becomes Clearer

Author Affiliations
  • 1Health Policy, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 2Thomas Jefferson College of Population Health, Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 3American College of Physicians, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 4Sanford Health, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
JAMA Intern Med. Published online July 22, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.2996

The recent decision by Congress and the President to give veterans greater choice in their health care decisions should be applauded. Veterans deserve the best health care the United States can offer, and reform of the current system must continue until that is achieved.

How new policies and laws are executed is often as important as the original intent of the legislation. The specific implementation of the Mission Act, which was signed into law by President Trump on June 6, 2018, will be critical to ensuring that veterans are well served. The Act establishes a single community care program that allows more veterans to seek care outside the Veterans Affairs (VA) system, using new access standards that have recently been released.1 These access standards allow veterans to seek private-sector care based on relaxed wait times and drive times, availability of service offerings, and failure to meet quality standards and provide new eligibility for urgent care.

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