The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been under fire in recent weeks. Several vets have died because they were not seen quickly enough. President Obama said in his speech, “the misconduct we’ve seen at too many facilities—with long wait times, and veterans denied care, and folks cooking the books—is outrageous and inexcusable.”
In his pledge to support our country’s veterans, he said his goals were to promote awareness and access to mental health care, as well as reduce the huge VA backlog. He also signed into law the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014.
The act allotted $15 billion towards allowing veterans to access healthcare providers outside of the VA (particularly veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility), hiring more medical staff, and improving the VA’s infrastructure.
The act also expands the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship to include surviving spouses (currently, children) of service members who have died in the line of duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001.
Of notable importance, too, is that the act directs the Secretary to disapprove courses from colleges and universities which charge out-of-state tuition to non-resident veterans for the All-Volunteer Force and Post 9/11 GI Bill Education programs. Essentially, if a school does not agree to charge non-resident veterans in-state tuition, the GI Bill can’t be used at that school.
The full text of the law can be found here.