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Is the Veterans Choice Act helping or hindering veterans?

Did you know that if you serve in just about any branch of the U.S. armed services, you may be eligible for veteran's benefits later on? This is a perk offered by the U.S. government that makes sure that service members have access to affordable health care no matter what. Veterans can get low-cost and even sometimes free treatments at VA centers all over the country as long as they are eligible and enroll for benefits.

But in some parts of the country, perhaps even in some areas of Florida, veterans have to travel long distances to get to a VA hospital or health care center. At some VA centers, a veteran may need to wait nearly a month before they can be seen by a doctor. In some cases, a veteran may be forced to travel to another center further away just to see a specialist or have certain tests performed. As some would argue, this hardly constitutes as the access the government promises to provide.

As some of our Melbourne readers may remember, it was because of these issues that Congress enacted the Veterans Choice Act, which gave veterans the option to seek medical treatment from hospitals and care centers outside of the VA system in the event that a VA facility was too far away or the wait exceeded 30 days. With the act in full force now, some are asking: is the Veterans Choice Act helping or hindering veterans?

If you're like some of the veterans in a recent NPR article, then you might say that the act is hindering more than helping. That's because, as you can see from the article, some veterans still need to travel considerable distances to receive treatment because their closest VA center is not equipped to do so. Unfortunately though, because a VA facility is close, the Veterans Choice Act does not kick in even though many veterans believe it should.

Many veterans are now asking the VA to reconsider the requirements laid out by the act, especially concerning the 40-mile rule. Because travel becomes an even greater issue the older you get, changes to the travel rule could become an important issue for many of our readers who are currently receiving care at a VA center but wish to receive care outside of the VA system when travelling becomes a burden later on.

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