A veterans bill signed by President Donald Trump (R) is being praised by Missouri’s Lieutenant Governor, who says it will provide more choice for veterans.

Lt. Governor Mike Parson

President Trump signed the Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act this month. Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson (R) says the bill will help Missouri veterans get care in their hometowns, rather than driving for hours.

“You know to have the opportunity to have more choice in their healthcare and their care for what they’ve done for our country, I think’s huge and I think it’s something I’ve advocated for a long time,” Parson says.

Parson says it’s “unacceptable” for veterans to have to endure long wait times for promised medical care.

The bill is designed to allow veterans to get care they need in their own community, while still allowing them to access care in the VA healthcare system.

Parson says it will help rural Missouri veterans.

“It would almost be like a voucher program where they’ll be some sort of identification to the veterans that they can walk in to maybe their hometown clinics or their hometown hospital or facilities and get care that they need without having to travel a long way,” says Parson.

Parson tells Missourinet that in his hometown of Bolivar, some veterans have had to travel two-and-a-half hours for care.

The federal bill allows veterans who have had to wait 30 days for an appointment or who live at least 40 miles from a VA to see a private doctor.

President Trump signed the bill on April 19 in the Roosevelt Room. The president’s remarks that day are posted on the White House website, in their entirety.

President Trump said that day, in part: “That’s why I’m pleased today to sign into law the Veterans Choice Program Improvement Act. So this is called the Choice Program Improvement Act. It speaks for itself. This bill will extend and improve the Veterans Choice Program so that more veterans can see the doctor of their choice — you got it? The doctor of their choice — and don’t have to wait and travel long distances for VA care. Some people have to travel five hours, eight hours, and they’ll have to do it on a weekly basis, and even worse than that. It’s not going to happen anymore.”

Parson describes the bill as a “big win” for veterans nationwide. The Missouri Veterans Commission is encouraging veterans to contact their local VA Hospital for more information on how to access the expanded program.


click here to listen to Missourinet news director Brian Hauswirth’s full seven minute interview with Missouri Lt. Governor Mike Parson: