Veterans

Obama Signs VA Overhaul Law

$16.3 billion bill will allow vets to seek private treatment, among other reforms.

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FORT BELVOIR, Va. — Tens of thousands of military veterans who have been enduring long waits for medical care should be able to turn to private doctors almost immediately under a law signed Thursday by President Barack Obama.

Other changes will take longer under the $16.3 billion law, which is the government's most sweeping response to the problems that have rocked the Veterans Affairs Department and led to the ouster of Eric Shinseki as VA secretary.

Improved access to outside care is likely to be the most immediate effect. Veterans who have waited at least a month for a medical appointment or who live at least 40 miles from a Veterans Affairs hospital or clinic will be able to see private doctors at government expense.

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