WASHINGTON – Today, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) submitted testimony before the House Veterans Affairs Committee at a hearing titled "From Tumult To Transformation: The Commission On Care And The Future Of The VA Healthcare System."
AFGE's full Statement for the Record can be found online here, and is excerpted below:
"The American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO and its National VA Council (AFGE) thank the Committee for the opportunity to share our views regarding the final recommendations of the Commission on Care. AFGE represents nearly 700,000 federal employees including more than 230,000 employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), AFGE represents employees at nearly every medical center and is by far the largest representative of medical and mental health professionals and support personnel.
Although the Commission did not formally adopt the controversial "strawman" proposal, the impact would be very similar. Both would dismantle our veterans' only specialized integrated health care system and incur unsustainable costs that will inevitably lead to lower quality care and fewer health care services for fewer veterans.
Both would also destroy veterans' true source of "community care": care provided within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) that is closely coordinated with VA vet centers and Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) benefits and employment services. The Commission's description of non-VA care as "community care" is a misnomer. Veterans strongly prefer to receive their care from the VA over the private sector according the Vet Voice Foundation poll and other recent polls."
To read the testimony in full, please visit https://www.afge.org/globalassets/documents/congressional-testimony/hvac-commission-statement-sep-7-2016.pdf