Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) reintroduced two bills last week to aid veterans: H.R. 42 and H.R. 43.
H.R. 42 would permit the Department of Veterans Affairs to contract with appropriate civilian healthcare accreditation or evaluation groups to investigate VA medical centers. The bill allows for greater transparency of VA medical centers and ensures that the healthcare our veterans receive is comparable to that of any private hospital.
"The men and women of our armed forces deserve the best treatment we can provide and by whatever means necessary," Mullin said. "By allowing the Department of Veterans Affairs to contract with independent evaluation groups, we can identify problems occurring consistently within VA medical centers and work to remove the barriers keeping veterans from the quality healthcare they deserve. It’s essential that we continue to improve the care we provide for our veterans and H.R. 42 does exactly that."
H.R. 43 amends title 38, United States Code, to authorize veterans to use their GI Bill education benefits to continue their education with independent study programs at career technical education (CTE) centers. In Oklahoma alone, veterans have lost access to over 200 accredited educational programs, simply because there is a distance learning or online component. H.R. 43 would allow veterans to take these classes at non-college-degree institutions, like CTEs, while using their GI Bill benefits.
“We owe our men and women in uniform the ability to continue their education at any number of accredited institutions after they serve our nation,” Mullin added. “Veterans in rural Oklahoma often don’t have access to higher education institutions or CTEs without traveling long distances. Passing this bill allows accredited institutions to help our veterans continue their education when they return home by taking classes that have online or distance learning components.”
H.R. 41 and H.R. 43 were both introduced to the 115th Congress on Tuesday, January 3, 2017.