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U.S. Senator Booker Statement on Passage of Veterans Legislation

June 11, 2014

Washington, DC – U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) today issued the following statement after the Senate voted to pass the Veterans’ Access to Care Through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014. Senator Booker was an original cosponsor of this bipartisan legislation which includes solutions to the concerns he raised in his amendment months ago addressing the long distances many veterans in New Jersey currently travel to receive care:

“Today, I was pleased to join my colleagues to pass bipartisan legislation that is critical to our nation’s veterans. There is a pressing urgency to address the systemic challenges that have left veterans in New Jersey and throughout the country without access to quality care, and I am proud we were able to take a step towards establishing long-term solutions for our nation’s heroes. Back in February, I met with veterans in Cape May who were forced to travel to out-of-state VA facilities just to receive care. It was with them in mind that I offered an amendment that raised these concerns, and this legislation includes provisions that aim to address my recommendations. Our veterans are the heart and soul of our communities and our country. We have an obligation to ensure that their healthcare, as with their service, is treated with dignity and respect.”

In February, Senator Booker filed a veterans health care access amendment to directly address the concerns raised earlier this year during a roundtable discussion and visit with Veterans in Cape May. Currently, veterans are traveling hours and long distances due to the lack of a nearby VA facility to treat chronic conditions or provide specialty care. For example, the closest VA facilities to the Cape May area are located in Philadelphia or Delaware, which can take over an hour or more in travel time. The amendment addresses non-VA care (care provided outside of VA hospitals but paid for by the VA), and particularly the standards for qualifying for that care. It also requires that the VA offer possible solutions to address this problem with a clear standard as to what kind of care an individual would qualify for these services.