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H.R. 3236: Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015

CBO Score

$12.07 billion

Date of Report

Tue July 28th, 2015

CBO Report Details

Legislation Details

To provide an extension of Federal-aid highway, highway safety, motor carrier safety, transit, and other programs funded out of the Highway Trust Fund, to provide resource flexibility to the Department of Veterans Affairs for health care services, and for other purposes.

114th Congress
Sponsor: Rep. Bill Shuster — R — PA

Introduced 07/28/15
Passed House: 07/29/15
Passed Senate: 07/30/15
Latest Action: 07/31/15

H.R. 3236 extends the programmatic and expenditure authority of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) through October 29, 2015. The bill also authorizes appropriations for Federal-aid highway, highway safety, and public transportation programs at the level authorized for fiscal year 2014, providing a proportional amount of authorized contract and budget authority for the period of the extension. The bill subjects funding for these programs generally to the same manner of distribution, administration, limitation, and availability for obligation. The bill also transfers approximately $6.1 billion from Treasury’s General Fund to the HTF’s Highway Account and $2 billion to its Mass Transit Account. The bill makes available $3.348 billion dollars from the Veterans Choice Fund to pay for non-VA care provided to eligible patients from May 1 to October 1, 2015. The bill also would modify the existing Veterans Choice Program by: eliminating the requirement for a veteran to have been enrolled in the VA health care system by August 1, 2014; expanding the number of non-VA providers who are allowed to participate in the Program by allowing VA to include Medicaid providers and other providers as appropriate; allowing VA to waive the wait time criteria for a veteran in need of an appointment but unable to schedule one prior to 30 days based on clinical necessity; and, allowing veterans who live within 40 miles of a VA community-based outpatient clinic that does not have a full-time physician on staff to access primary care through the Program. The bill also amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permit an employer, when determining whether it must provide health care coverage to its employees under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), to exclude employees who have coverage under a health care program administered by the Department of Defense (DOD). This includes TRICARE or coverage provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This provision is substantively similar to H.R. 22, the Hire More Heroes Act of 2015, which passed the House by a vote of 412 to 0 on January 6, 2015; and H.J. Res. 61, which passed the House by voice vote on July 27, 2015.

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