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VA Reform Bill Passes With Bipartisan Support In The Senate

Legislation aimed at reforming operations within the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system was passed by the Senate on Wednesday by a vote of 93-3. It was swiftly approved with bipartisan support.

The bill, known as the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act would allow veterans to access doctors outside of the VA system if they live in a rural area or they’ve experience an extended wait time.

It would also provide VA administrators more flexibility to fire under-performing staff.  

In a statement before the Senate vote today, Arizona Sen. John McCain said the passage of this bill would be a good first step towards reform.

"There’s no way we can ever compensate for those that have gone without the treatment that they have earned," McCain said. "But at least we can expeditiously fix this problem to the best of our ability."

The Senate-approved version of this bill now goes before the house, which has already approved similar measures.

Carrie Jung Senior Field Correspondent, Education Desk Carrie Jung began her public radio career in Albuquerque, N.M., where she fell in love with the diverse cultural scene and unique political environment of the Southwest. Jung has been heard on KJZZ since 2013 when she served as a regular contributor to the Fronteras Desk from KUNM Albuquerque. She covered several major stories there including New Mexico's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and Albuquerque's failed voter initiative to ban late-term abortions. Jung has also contributed stories about environmental and Native American issues to NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera America, WNYC's The Takeaway, and National Native News. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marketing, both from Clemson University. When Jung isn't producing content for KJZZ she can usually be found buried beneath mounds of fabric and quilting supplies. She recently co-authored a book, "Sweet And Simple Sewing," with her mother and sister, who are fabric designers.