As a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve and an Iraq veteran, I have witnessed the bravery and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. Our nation must provide its military members, veterans, and their families the benefits they’ve earned serving their fellow Americans. Unfortunately, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has fallen short of that goal far too often in recent years.

In response to the VA’s clear need for reform, the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 created the Veterans Choice Program to give veterans the option of receiving VA-covered care through some private providers if certain obstacles to receiving care at a VA facility exist. This program serves veterans in northeast Georgia and across the country as they pursue the quality care they’ve earned defending our nation and its freedoms.

I also introduced the Expanding Veterans’ Access to Choice Act after learning that a Ninth District resident was unable to qualify for the Choice Program despite the fact that his local VA facility had reached its capacity. The Expanding Veterans’ Access to Choice Act would block the VA from exploiting bureaucratic loopholes to prevent veterans from receiving health care through the Choice Program.

I have also advocated for the continued stability of the Choice Program while Congress works to strengthen it. In 2017, the House passed legislation to continue funding for the Choice Program and to address significant shortcomings at VA facilities. The bill was signed into law and appropriated $2.1 billion for the Veterans Choice Program to remain available until expended.

Far too many veterans have been mistreated by the VA through mismanagement and employee misconduct. I voted for the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act when it passed the House in 2017. This legislation was signed into law and will improve VA services by instituting accountability reforms to ensure our veterans are receiving the high-quality care they deserve and to better protect the many VA employees who are doing their jobs properly.

Additionally, I introduced legislation to ensure that the infants of female veterans receiving maternity care from the VA also receive high-quality care from VA physicians. The Newborn Care Improvement Act would require the VA to extend post-delivery care services from seven days to 42 days after the birth of a child delivered in a VA facility should such care be medically necessary.

I also supported action by the House to ensure that veterans can use their education benefits under the GI bill whenever they choose. The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act expands the GI bill to ensure that veterans can pursue their education without impending time limits. This legislation was signed into law in 2017 and also makes it easier for post-9/11 Purple Heart recipients to receive GI bill benefits.

We must keep working to ensure that the VA undergoes meaningful reform and veterans and their families receive the benefits they deserve.

Related Content

July 1, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON—President Donald J. Trump today signed the Taxpayer First Act into law, which includes Rep. Doug Collins’ (R-Ga.) Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers RESPECT Act.

June 6, 2019
Press Release

GAINESVILLE—Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) released the following statement on the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

May 9, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Susie Lee (D-N.V.), Jackie Walorski (R-I.N), and Chrissy Houlahan (D-P.A.) today reintroduced the Newborn Care Improvement Act to extend the amount of time female veterans’ newborns are eligible to receive medical care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). 

April 9, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON—The House today unanimously passed Rep. Doug Collins’ (R-Ga.) Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers RESPECT Act as part of H.R. 1957, the Taxpayer First Act.

August 31, 2018
Press Release
“People in Hall County remember Zack Addington as a brave man who died promoting and defending the liberty that we prize so dearly. He fought and became a hero beside his countrymen, and we’ve come together to ensure that his legacy lives on through Clermont’s Zack T. Addington Post Office.”
May 16, 2018
Press Release
“American veterans deserve high-quality health care, but the current VA system has proven that it’s unable to deliver those services consistently. The VA MISSION Act takes significant steps towards making health care more accessible to veterans through both the VA and private providers."
April 5, 2018
Press Release
“Gavyn’s discipline in the classroom and on the field will enable him to serve our country well as part of the U.S. Army, and I’m proud Northeast Georgia continues to produce the gifted young people that the military academies are looking for.”
March 26, 2018
Press Release
“President Trump's signature has cemented the legacy of a northeast Georgia hero who gave his life defending our nation. The Zack T. Addington Post Office will remind this community of our shared values and gratitude to American service members.”
March 22, 2018
Press Release
"Supporting our military means funding troops and the resources they need to protect American lives, and this bill delivers pay raises to service members while strengthening our military's capabilities and battle readiness."
March 16, 2018
Press Release
“Timothy Leurart is the first student from northeast Georgia to earn an appointment at the Merchant Marine Academy this year, and I look forward to watching him represent the strong character of our community as he serves our country," said Collins.