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Barak Obama signs veterans' health care bill into law

IANS August 08, 2014 8:16 IST
Washington: US President Barack Obama on Thursday signed into law a landmark bill to help veterans avoid long waits for health care.

Obama signed the Veterans' Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014 during a ceremony at Fort Belvoir in the US State of Virginia, the White House said in a press release.

The $16.3 billion reform bill that was passed overwhelmingly by the Congress with bipartisan majorities provides the country's veterans affairs department with additional resources to improve access and quality of care for veterans, Xinhua reported.

The act came months after revelations of "inexcusable misconduct at some veterans' affairs health care facilities," the US president said.

Some of the department's hospitals were cooking the books, and veterans were denied care they needed, with long wait times being covered up, he emphasised. "This is wrong. It's outrageous," he added.

Since April, the veterans' healthcare scandal triggered by a hospital run by the department where 40 veterans allegedly died while waiting for treatment, has revealed broad and deep-seated problems in the sprawling health care system, which provides medical care to millions of veterans annually.

The scandal prompted the resignation of veteran affairs department secretary Eric Shinseki in late May.