On August 7, 2014, Barack Obama signed the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014:
The bill was introduced into the United States House of Representatives during the 113th United States Congress under the name “Pay Our Guard and Reserve Act” as one of the October 2013 mini-continuing resolutions passed by the House during the United States federal government shutdown of 2013. It became law on August 7, 2014.
The law includes access to healthcare at non-VA hospitals for rural veterans, as well as vast increases in staffing and facilities at existing VA medical centers
The bill H.R. 3230 was introduced into the United States House of Representatives on October 2, 2013 by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) as the “Pay Our Guard and Reserve Act“. The bill was referred to the United States House Committee on Appropriations. The bill was one of the October 2013 mini-continuing resolutions passed by the House during the United States federal government shutdown of 2013. On October 3, 2013 the House voted in Roll Call Vote 516 to pass the bill 265-160. On June 11, 2014, the United States Senate changed the name of the bill to the “Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014” and voted to pass the bill 93-3 in Roll Call Vote 187.
Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Jeff Miller said that “many of the provisions included in today’s Senate-passed bill are based on ideas that have already cleared the House, so I’m hopeful both chambers of Congress can soon agree on a final package to send to the president’s desk.” Miller was referring to the Veteran Access to Care Act of 2014 (H.R. 4810; 113th Congress) which contained similar provisions and passed the House on June 10, 2014.
The House and Senate established a conference committee to agree on amendments to the bill. The committee met on June 24, 2014. The House voted to agree to the conference report on July 30, 2014 with a vote of 420-5 in Roll Call Vote 467. The Senate voted to agree to the conference report on July 31, 2014 with a vote of 91-3 in Roll Call Vote 254.President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on August 7, 2014.
Donald Trump either doesn’t know that the Veterans’ Choice Act was signed into law by Barack Obama, or he is such a cynical liar that he thinks he can take all of the credit for it, and his supporters will believe him. Most likely, it’s the latter.
TRUMP: We passed veterans’ choice, giving our veterans the right to see a private doctor, rather than waiting on line for weeks and weeks and weeks. Forty four years they’ve been trying to pass that. I got it passed, it’s signed as of two months ago. It’s finished. Here’s a veteran. Are you happy? Are you happy?
TRUMP: We passed veterans’ choice, giving our veterans the right to see a private doctor.
TRUMP: You know, we did something for our veterans nobody thought was possible. We got veterans’ choice, where if they’re not being taken care of, if they’re not being taken care of, they go out to a private doctor, veterans’ choice. Took 44 years, and Ryan and all of these incredible people that we just introduced, they helped every one of them. And, Paul, thank you. You worked hard on that one, right? That was not an easy one.
TRUMP: And we passed veteran’s choice, giving our veterans the right to see a private doctor, instead of waiting on line for one month, two months, three months, four months. And having a simple illness corrected, you’d have people that stand in line so long they would have a simple problem, and by the time they got to see a doctor, they were terminally ill. Terminally ill. So now they have to wait on line. These are our great people. If our veterans have to wait online, they go out and they see a private doctor. We pay the bill. And we get them fixed up.
TRUMP: Dean worked tirelessly to pass V.A. choice, V.A. accountability. You know, 44 years they’ve been trying to pass these things, choice, so that a veteran is sick, he gets on line, he’s got to wait forever. He’s got to wait forever, days, weeks, months. And we just passed — after 44 years, we just got it passed, I signed it two months ago, veteran’s choice, so that if they have to wait on line for 12 days or 14 days or 32 days, or much longer than that — can you believe it? People are sick, but not bad. By the time they see the doctor, they’re terminally ill. OK, it could have been solved. They go immediately to see a doctor privately. We pay for their bill. They’re fixed. Frankly, it’s not what I’m doing it for. We save money, if you can believe this. It’s good. We go right to a private doctor. If they have a long wait, they go right to a private doctor. And 44 years, they couldn’t get that one passed.
One might ask, just how does Donald Trump think he can take credit for something that was signed by his predecessor? Politifact attempted to explain:
Congress passed a new version of a Choice program in June 2018 — but the program itself has been around since 2014.
After the scandal of long waits and the efforts of administrators at some facilities to cover that up, Congress and the Obama administration passed the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014.
For veterans who couldn’t be given appointments quickly enough, or who lived more than 40 miles from a Veterans Health Administration hospital, the government would pay for private care. In four years, Washington spent $12 billion on the program.
The bill signed by Trump, the VA Mission Act, is a major effort to fold a variety of community care programs at the VA into one integrated whole. That change won’t take place for at least a year. Until then, the law provides $5.2 billion to continue the Choice program in its present form.
We reached out to the Trump administration but did not hear back.Our ruling
Trump said that he and his fellow Republican “passed Choice,” something that others had been trying to do for 44 years. He described the program as one that allowed veterans to get private care at government expense.
The program to do exactly that has been around for four years. And it’s always been referred to as Choice.
We rate this claim False.