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)

Recent Headlines

in Local

American Business Club of Springfield Waiting for State Fair Money

State Fair Vendor

Owed thousands by the state, one of the Illinois State Fair vendors is giving money away anyway.

in Local

St. John’s, Memorial Hospitals Help Enos Park

enos park

Springfield's two hospitals are on the first step of a three-year joint initiative that for now will help provide better access to health care in the Enos Park neighborhood.

in Local

Former Gov. Ryan Calls for Criminal Justice Reform


Former Gov. George Ryan is using examples from his own time in prison to call for changes to the criminal justice system.

in Local

Students from China Help Champaign-Urbana

university illinois

More than 5,200 students from China attend the University of Illinois campus in Champaign-Urbana.

in Local

Kent Gray Named Trump’s Illinois Campaign Director

GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump speaks at a news conference in Manhattan after he signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee in the 2016 general election, ruling out a third-party or independent run.

Featuring: Donald Trump
Where: New York, New York, United States
When: 03 Sep 2015
Credit: Dennis Van Tine/Future Image/

**Not available for publication in Germany, Poland, Russia, Hungary, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Serbia, Croatia, Slovakia**

Gray directed reporters' inquiries to Hope Hicks, a national communications director for Trump, who wouldn't let us talk to him.