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Senate Passes Legislation to Grant Veterans Increased Access to Medical Care

Credit: Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate approved legislation on Wednesday that would provide military veterans with increased access to medical facilities and care.

The House of Representatives passed the legislation on Tuesday, and by a vote of 93 to 3 the Senate approved the bill one day later. The bipartisan bill was crafted by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

The bill is expected to allow those veterans experiencing long delays in the Veterans Affairs system, or who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility, to access medical care outside the VA system for the next two years. Additionally, funding will be directed to hire new medical personnel at hospitals and clinics that are currently understaffed. Finally, the VA will be able to lease 26 new medical facilities across the United States.

Under the new bill, the Veterans Affairs Secretary will be authorized to fire underperforming officials. An appeals process will be created to prevent that power from being used politically.

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