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Taking Action on Veterans' Healthcare

Veterans, Health

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate voted 93-3 on a measure meant to ease healthcare delays for veterans by  allowing vets to get care from private providers if they can't get an appointment at a VA facility,  opening more VA clinics, and  hiring additional medical staff.  VA officials would be able to more easily fire or demote employees for inadequate job performance, too.

The Senate vote followed unanimous passage on Tuesday of a similar bill in the House of Representatives.

The three senators who voted against the bill are Republicans:  Ron Johnson of Wisconsin,  Jeff Sessions of Alabama, and Bob Corker of Tennessee.

The bipartisan bill was authored by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (an independent from Vermont) and Republican John McCain of Arizona.  

In Arizona:  at least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list, reports CNN.

Describing it as an "emergency",  Senators McCain and Sanders argued against delaying the bill.   

Also on Wednesday,  the FBI said it has opened a criminal investigation of a VA office in Arizona.

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