Local vets react to new VA overhaul bill

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - House and Senate negotiators said 'yes' to a bill Monday that will help veterans waiting in long lines for healthcare.

The change comes after reports surfaced of patients dying waiting for care and workers fixing appointment schedules to cover up wait times.

Retired military veteran Jacqueline Humphrey said she isn't mad at the VA, but wants to see the system get better.

"Being a vet, I think the areas of concern that became present to everyone were unfortunate," Humphrey said. "I think we need to give the VA a chance to correct it."

The bill will aim to get vets outside care when VA doctors cannot treat them fast enough, help hire more doctors, nurses and medical professionals and make it easier to fire executives not doing their jobs.

The bill could be on the way to President Barack Obama as soon as the end of the week, but the overhaul won't come cheap. The total cost will be about $17 billion.

$10 billion will go towards veterans seeking outside care when they cannot get an appointment with VA doctors and $5 billion will be used to hire doctors, nurses and medical staff..

$1.5 billion will be used to open 27 new clinics in the United States.

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