Congress extends VA Choice program

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With bipartisan support, the House of Representatives approved legislation (S. 544) extending the Veterans Choice Program on Wednesday following Senate passage two days earlier. The Veterans Choice program allows U.S. military veterans to seek private care under certain circumstances. The program became law in 2014 after a number of issues such as lengthy wait times were exposed. The program was set to expire August 7. The legislation allows the program to access nearly $1 billion remaining from its initial emergency appropriation, makes the Department of Veterans Affairs the primary payer under the program and allows the agency to share certain medical records with community providers. The bill moves on to president Trump, who is expected to sign it.