Trump administration plans to privatize VA

Emily Rappleye (Twitter) - Print  | 

The Trump administration is planning to unveil a proposal during the State of the Union address in January to move millions of veterans into private healthcare, sources told ProPublica.

The new plan would increase the amount of VA care delivered in the private sector from 36 percent to 55 percent, according to the ProPublica report. Because the Trump administration wants to keep government spending down, the funds to pay for this care will likely come out of the VA's budget. ProPublica's sources in the VA estimated the cost could range anywhere from $13.9 billion to $32.1 billion over five years.

The plan comes as an interpretation of the VA Mission Act, a law passed in June to expand veteran access to private care by allowing the VA secretary to designate "access standards" for when veterans can seek care outside of the VA. When the bill passed, David Shulkin, MD, was VA secretary. He planned to create just three access standards, according to the report. Under new leadership, sources told ProPublica the VA will use the flexibility of the law to dramatically expand veteran eligibility for private care.

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