Bill would allow veterans to get care outside VA

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) on Friday introduced a bill that would allow veterans to see doctors outside the Department of Veterans Affairs if the wait time is too long.

"Our veterans have waited too long. If you've served our country and you've gone to the VA center, we need to make sure you've got access to timely care," Denham said on the House floor.

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Under Denham's measure, veterans could seek care from private doctors and still be covered by the VA if the wait time at a VA facility was more than seven days for primary care or 14 days for specialty care. Those timeframes are the VA's current wait time goals.

Denham said that the VA should still be responsible for covering veterans' care even if they have to go to a doctor outside the system.

"We must ensure those who sacrificed so much receive the care they were promised even if that means seeing a local doctor at VA expense," Denham said.

Denham's bill comes hours after President Obama announced Eric Shinseki's resignation as VA secretary.