It’s a fact -- America's rural veterans do not have equal access to the medical benefits they were promised and have earned. Rural Americans often must travel farther to access quality health care than residents in urban centers, and that holds especially true for rural veterans, who often must travel for hours to reach the nearest VA facility so they can use their federal medical benefits. This unequal access to VA medical facilities penalizes rural veterans, but I’ve introduced legislation that keeps our nation's promise to the men and women who served their country.

The Veterans’ Access to Local Health Care Options and Resources (VALOR) Act was introduced last week in an effort to grant veterans the choice of using their benefits in local facilities rather than making the journey to a VA hospital. The VALOR Act would expand the ability of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to contract with non-VA facilities for medical care. That means veterans in rural Iowa, or in any state, can use their benefits without leaving their hometowns if they so choose. No more all-day journeys to VA facilities, and no more waiting months to schedule appointments.

It’s a disgrace that current policy does not give all veterans equal access to VA services. I’m trying to make sure that our veterans have convenient access to the best health care we can provide, something they’ve earned through their service to our country. I urge my colleagues and the American public to support this solution to an injustice that targets those who have already sacrificed so much.