McInnis wants VA to enact vets bill |

McInnis wants VA to enact vets bill

Act ensures access to health care

Before leaving Congress, Rep. Scott McInnis is encouraging the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to enact the Healthy Veterans Act.

McInnis sponsored the bill to provide health care to veterans living in geographically isolated areas. Although the bill has enjoyed the vocal support of the outgoing Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi, the VA has yet to move forward to change health-care access for rural veterans.

“I have been working closely with Secretary Principi to see these veterans get the care they deserve, and while our talks have been positive, we have yet to see any action taken on behalf of the Department,” McInnis said.

McInnis is encouraging Principi’s replacement, Jim Nicholson, to take action to implement the goals of the Healthy Veterans Act.

The purpose of the bill is twofold, said McInnis spokesman Blair Jones. The bill intends to improve health-care access for geographically isolated veterans and apply pressure for a veteran’s health care clinic in Northwest Colorado.

The VA already has the power to do some of these things, Jones said.

“We can’t be delayed by a mess of bureaucratic red tape,” Jones said.

For instance, the VA immediately could begin the process of building a health care clinic for veterans in Northwest Colorado, Jones said.

“Secretary Principi personally assured me of his willingness to allow contracting for localized care in areas such as the northwest corner of Colorado, and I would urge you to work with the Colorado delegation to ensure that the needs of these veterans are met,” McInnis wrote in a letter to Nicholson.

Even after leaving office, McInnis said he is willing to continue working with the VA to implement the bill.

“While I am retiring from Congress at the end of this month, I would be more than happy to meet with you on the importance of this issue in my capacity as a private citizen,” McInnis wrote.

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