VIDEO: Bustos Presses VA Secretary on Veterans’ Access to Health Care, Transportation in Rural Areas

CLICK HERE for a video of Congresswoman Bustos questioning Secretary Wilkie

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17), a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, questioned Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie during a Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee hearing. Congresswoman Bustos drew on past conversations she has had with local veterans, which is why she raised a consistent concern among their responses — reliable transportation to access the health care services they need.

“Veterans have earned nothing short of the best care in the world, which is why I delivered these concerns directly to Secretary Wilkie today,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “Our region has a proud tradition of military service, and veterans living in more rural areas face unique challenges that we must work together to overcome. While telehealth is certainly an important tool, many veterans and facilities in rural areas lack access to broadband and high-speed internet – that’s why the VA must improve transportation options for veterans seeking care in our region. Where veterans decide to live following their service should not determine the quality of care they receive, and I’ll continue to do everything in my power to ensure veterans across our region have reliable access to care that meets their needs.”

Specifically, Congresswoman Bustos asked Secretary Wilkie what steps the VA is taking to address transportation needs of veterans living in rural areas and if they have considered partnerships with mass transit districts to ensure our veterans have access to the care they need. In Illinois’ 17th Congressional District, it’s not uncommon for veterans to face an hours-long drive to receive certain types of care – many also have to travel out-of-state to Iowa or Wisconsin.

Watch Congresswoman Bustos by clicking HERE or below: