Budget proposal may cut Veterans Choice Program

Congress and VA leadership to decide if the budget passes

CHICOPEE Mass. (WWLP) – The Veterans Choice Program may not last through next year.The Veterans Choice program allows veterans to seek medical care outside of the VA. Next year’s budget proposal may change that.

The VA secretary estimates that there is enough funding to last until August 7, 2018.The amount of veterans using the program increased by nearly 50 percent from last year.

Veteran Richard Pellissier used the program to get rotator cuff surgery. He says without the program, he doesn’t know how he would have been able to get the care he needed.

“I was fortunate to have a great experience and everybody, if they can, should have the same thing. If he does cuts, it’s just going to make things worse for the veterans,” Pellisser said.

The program covered the cost for Pellissier’s surgery and physical therapy.

Andre Bowser, the Public Affairs Officer for the VA in Northampton says it will be up to congress and the VA leadership to decide if the budget proposed for next year will be able to take care of America’s Veterans.

The budget proposed is almost one billion dollars less than the funding the program had in 2017. If the budget passes, veterans will have to receive more care within the VA.