President Barack Obama should take immediate action to allow veterans to seek care outside of the Veterans Affairs Department's healthcare system, the American Medical Association House of Delegates resolved Tuesday. It also recommended that state and local medical societies and local VA offices create registries of doctors willing to provide immediate veteran care.
A resolution calling on the president to solve access problems had been introduced by the Florida and Texas delegations. But, after debating the measure Sunday, the House of Delegates committee on federal legislation rewrote it with substitute calls to “encourage all physicians to participate, when needed, in the healthcare of veterans” and “support providing full health benefits” to eligible veterans to access care outside the VA system.
The Florida and Texas delegations were joined by doctors in California and New York in offering a third version of the resolution which delegates approved late Tuesday morning. It calls on the president to take immediate action to provide “entitled care” to eligible veterans outside the VA System until the VA can find a solution to its long waiting list problem.
The measure was approved by an overwhelming voice vote. But an amendment recommending that local registries be created was approved by the slimmest of margins. Since a voice vote was inconclusive, another vote was taken electronically and the registry recommendation was approved by a 234-231 vote (50.3% to 49.7%).