On Tuesday, the U.S. House passed a bill from a Florida congressman giving veterans who need organ transplants more choices in their medical care.
The House passed U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn‘s, R-Fla., “Veterans Increased Choice for Transplanted Organs and Recovery (VICTOR) Act” on a voice vote. Dunn’s proposal would give veterans needing organ transplants more access, allowing those who live 100 miles or more from VA transplant centers have their procedures done at other medical facilities though it would need to be federally certified and cover Medicare patients. Noting the current policy, Dunn pointed to his own district, which includes parts of the Big Bend, as an area where veterans would benefit from his legislation. For veterans in Dunn’s district, the nearest VA facility that performs organ transplants is in Nashville.
“The VICTOR Act is a critical step forward in ensuring transplant care through the VA meets our veterans’ medical needs,” Dunn, who served as an Army surgeon, said after the vote on Tuesday. “Medical decisions should be made between a doctor and their patient, and that is exactly what this bill does. The VICTOR Act will remove unnecessary obstacles facing veterans in need of organ transplants, making it easier for those who have served our country to receive life-saving surgery.”
Dunn’s proposal had more than 30 co-sponsors, including Florida Republican U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Matt Gaetz, Francis Rooney, Tom Rooney, Dennis Ross, John Rutherford, Dan Webster and Ted Yoho.
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., the chairman of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee, which advanced the legislation to the House floor last week, was also a strong supporter of the proposal.
“As we lead up to Veterans Day this week, it’s more important than ever that we ensure veterans in need of critical health care like organ transplants have access to the care they deserve,” Roe said on Tuesday. “I’m pleased that the House passed the VICTOR Act today, and I thank Rep. Dunn for his continued leadership on this issue.”
So far, there is no similar proposal over in the Senate.