House approves $17B veterans health care bill

House approves $17B veterans health care bill

VETERANS AFFAIRS: This May 29 photo shows the St. Louis VA Medical Center. The medical center is among those on the list of the facilities with the longest average waits as of May 15 for new patients seeking primary care, specialist care and mental health care, according to audit results released Monday. At 86 days, it ranked fifth on the list of facilities with the longest average wait time for new patient specialist care. Photo: Associated Press/Jim Salter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a $17 billion plan to ease long healthcare delays at the scandal-plagued Veterans Affairs Department, adding much of the cost to the federal deficit.

The compromise measure was reached on Monday between House and Senate negotiators to provide funds for veterans’ temporary access to private medical care, to allow the VA to hire more doctors and nurses and to open more outpatient clinics.

The measure, which also grants VA more authority to fire poor-performing employees, passed 420-5. The Senate is expected to consider it later this week, before Congress starts a five-week summer recess on Friday.

(Reporting By David Lawder; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Latest Headlines

in Local

Woman Dies In Single-Car Crash Near Medway


State Police say a woman was killed Sunday morning and her husband was injured in a one car crash in I-95 just south of Medway.

in Local

Walmarts Evacuated After Bomb Threats


A series of automated voicemail bomb threats caused several Walmarts to be evacuated across the state Saturday evening.

in Local

Maine Police: 6 Fires Intentionally Set Along Interstate 95


Maine State Police say they are looking for a white sedan with two men inside who may be responsible for setting six fires along a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 95 southbound from Waterville to Sidney.

in Local

Methamphetamine Continues to be a Problem in Maine


Maine's heroin epidemic is getting much of the attention from law enforcement officials and policymakers, but methamphetamine continues to be a persistent problem.

in Local

Maine Asking For Help Tracking Invasive, Destructive Moth


AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is asking for the public's help in locating destructive winter moth populations around the state.