Sen. Sanders Discusses New VA Legislation

By Kristen Tripodi

Published 08/06 2014 07:24PM

Updated 08/06 2014 07:39PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. - The Federal Government is pouring $16.3 billion dollars into the new VA reform. Vermont's Senator Bernie Sanders spearheaded the legislation; calling it some of the most significant legislation concerning veterans he’s seen in years.

Senator Sanders has been pushing for this type of overhaul since an audit revealed major problems in the way some VA hospitals handled waiting lists; an investigation revealed some veterans died in Arizona while waiting for care.

On Wednesday Sanders visited the White River Junction VA Hospital to talk about some major changes nationwide.

Those changes include 26 new VA facilities- but none are in our area. And an additional five billion dollars will allow the VA to hire more doctors and staff to make sure wait times are kept to a minimum.

But Sanders says recruiting the additional staff will take time.

"I think for the first year, year and a half the VA will have the resources to do what it needs to do.  What I worry about is a year and a half from now we're going to come back and have to look at this again. But I think we have bought at least a year and a half to move forward with the provisions in this bill,” said Sanders.

The new law also allocates 10 billion dollars to pay for private care for veterans who live more than 40 miles away from the nearest VA hospital or if they can't get an appointment within 30 days.

The Senator says this is a start, and there is more to be done.

President Obama is scheduled to sign the legislation into law Thursday.

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