Rep. Phil Roe: Veterans should be in charge of health care decisions

phil roe

Republican Study Committee Health Care Working Group Chairman Dr. Phil Roe (R-TN) introduces the RSC’s “American Health Care Reform Act” during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol September 18, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — When it comes to the quality of care at VA medical centers, lack of consistency seems to be the problem.

As a physician, U.S. Representative Phil Roe of Tennessee has direct knowledge of the importance of medical services for veterans and how location can impact care.

“The old saying is ‘if you’ve visited one VA, you’ve visited one VA,’” Roe tells CBS Radio’s Connecting Vets. “The quality varies on where you are.”

“Urban areas have a tendency to be able to attract faculty easier, doctors, providers easier as opposed to rural areas which have a much tougher time.”

But Roe is optimistic about solving this problem.

“One of the things that our committee wants to do is to leverage the best of both the private sector and the VA sector for veterans care,” he says. “You’ve got to use the best of both worlds.”

In April, Congress passed the Choice Act, which extends The Veterans Choice Program. This program allows veterans enrolled in VA healthcare to receive health care within their community.

The next step is to introduce something Roe refers to as “Choice 2.0,” which he says would allow veterans to make the decision on whether they want to receive care in the VA sector or the private sector.

“I think they key thing is to put the veteran in charge of these decisions,” he says. “The veteran is getting the kind of care they want.”

Watch the complete interview below:

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