WASHINGTON D.C. – The Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) and CPC Vice Chair and Acting Ranking Member of Veterans Affairs Committee Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) introduced a House Resolution expressing support for a robust Veterans Health Administration and opposing privatization proposals that would jeopardize comprehensive veteran care. The Resolution calls on the House to uphold policies that prioritize the health needs of our veterans over private business interests.
In August, Reps. Ellison, Grijalva and Takano sent a letter to Secretary McDonald at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs asking him to oppose any recommendations by the Commission on Care to further privatize and weaken the VA healthcare system.
"Veterans serve our country with honor. In return, we promise to provide them with high quality health care throughout their lives,” Rep. Ellison said. “For decades, the Veterans Health Administration has been the center of this care. VA doctors and nurses understand the unique and complex nature of veteran’s healthcare. We must give them the tools they need to serve our veterans effectively. This resolution makes it clear how to do so: by investing in the Veterans Health Administration and opposing proposals that benefit private business at the expense of coordinated veteran care. We must stand with our veterans, and the best way to do that is to ensure lifelong comprehensive care.”
“The nearly 9 million veterans who rely on our VA Health Care System deserve better than to have politicians gamble with the quality of their medical care,” Rep. Grijalva said. “Our veteran community’s needs vary widely, from complex battle wounds and emotional scars to simple ailments associated with age, and research shows that the current system out-performs the private sector in delivering their care. This resolution is an opportunity for Members of Congress from both sides of the political aisle to stand with our veterans, who by a rate of 80 percent oppose turning VA health care into a system of private sector vouchers.”
“The Veterans Health Administration represents our commitment to provide quality health care to America’s veterans, and that commitment cannot be outsourced to the for-profit health care system,” said Acting Ranking Member Takano. “This resolution echoes the voices of millions of veterans who rely on VHA for care that meets their unique needs and is equipped to treat their mental and physical health conditions. It sends a clear message that we will keep the promises we made to those who served.”
The resolution is supported by the American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans, the American Federation of Government Employees, the Union Veterans Council, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and AMVETS.
Full text of the resolution is below and here:
HOUSE RESOLUTION ___
Expressing support for policies that maintain a robust Veterans Health Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs and do not jeopardize care for veterans by moving essential resources to the private sector.
Whereas Congress has promoted policies to improve the health care capabilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs by providing significant increases in funds to hire staff, build more facilities, and improve training;
Whereas nearly 9,000,000 veterans are enrolled in and depend on the health care system of the Department of Veterans Affairs for their care, and the Department completes nearly 101,000,000 outpatient appointments annually;
Whereas the approximately 22,000,000 veterans of the United States are a diverse group of individuals including older veterans with diseases associated with aging and younger veterans with complex conditions related to improved battlefield medical care, and as a group contain a higher percentage of seriously wounded individuals needing complex lifelong physical and mental health care, which differs from the patient mix cared for by most community providers;
Whereas the RAND Corporation examined a decade of research and found that VA provided care is equal to or better quality than private sector care in all forty-seven quality-of-care measurements it conducted as part of an independent assessment comparing VA outpatient care with comparable civilian facilities;
Whereas the Department of Veterans Affairs is better equipped than most community providers to coordinate complex veteran care and provide continuity of resources for veterans;
Whereas employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs are dedicated public servants, one-third of whom are veterans themselves; and
Whereas according to a bipartisan survey by Lake Research and Chesapeake Beach Consulting 80 percent of veterans polled oppose turning health care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs into a system of private sector vouchers that may not adequately cover costs: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
(1) supports policies that provide necessary resources to serve veterans by maintaining a robust Veterans Health Administration;
(2) opposes policies that would jeopardize care for veterans by moving essential resources away from the Veterans Health Administration and into the private sector; and
(3) supports policies that would create integrated health care networks for veterans with the Veterans Health Administration, serving as the coordinator and primary provider of care, and selected high-quality community partners providing care when and where needed to ensure timely and convenient access for all enrolled veterans.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, with over 70 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and promote civil liberties. The CPC champions progressive policy solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, a $15 national minimum wage, fair trade, gun violence reform, debt-free college, and making the federal government a Model Employer.