FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL—Rep. Chip Roy announced he would introduce a bill Friday to give veterans more freedom in their health care options and enable them to access an innovative new form of health care.

“All too often, veterans are forced to wait to receive the medical care they have earned,” Roy, a Texas Republican, told The Daily Signal in a written statement Thursday. “They put their lives on the line for our freedom, so they should have nothing less than the complete freedom to control their care.”

“That’s why I am reintroducing the Veteran Access to Direct Primary Care Act to cut through layers of burdensome regulations and give veterans access to care where doctor-patient relationships are put first,” he added.

The bill, exclusively provided to The Daily Signal, directs the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish a pilot program through the Center for Innovation to Implementation to allow veterans the option to enroll in direct primary care. Roy’s team will formally introduce the bill on Friday.

Direct primary care, an innovative alternate-payment model for health care, gives patients access to a doctor of their choice for a flat, affordable membership fee. The model does not involve fee-for-service payments or third-party billing, but aims to develop “an enduring and trusting relationship between a patient and his or her primary care provider,” according to the Direct Primary Care Coalition.

Direct primary care usually offers 24/7 access to a primary care physician.

Under the program that would be established by Roy’s bill, veterans would have a “Veteran Health Savings Account” that allows them to purchase direct primary care service agreements while still obtaining nonprimary care through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Roy introduced the bill in March 2020 and March 2021, when Democrats held the majority in the House of Representatives.

During the administration of President Barack Obama, thousands of veterans died while on waiting lists for care. In April 2017, President Donald Trump signed the Veterans Choice Program Extension and Improvement Act. Roy’s bill would build on that law.

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