In the News
Sunshine State News By Kevin Derby
On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., who sits on the House Veterans Affairs Committee and who served more than a decade as an Army surgeon, introduced the “Veterans Increased Choice for Transplanted Organs and Recovery (VICTOR) Act."
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 North Florida Republican congressman, who was elected to Congress for the first time back in November, made the case for his bill.
“Timely organ transplants are the difference between life and death,” Dunn said. “Unfortunately, due to government bureaucracy, our veterans are put on lengthy waitlists and forced to travel hundreds of miles to get the chance to receive a new liver, kidney, or even heart. The travel alone can prove to be fatal.
“The VICTOR Act will give those who fought for our freedom a fighting chance here at home,” Dunn added. “Our veterans and wounded warriors have earned this care through their service and sacrifice, and as they did not let us down, we cannot let them down.”
So far, Dunn has reeled in almost 20 co-sponsors including three from the Sunshine State as Republicans Gus Bilirakis, who is the vice-chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Dennis Ross and John Rutherford are backing his proposal.
The bill was sent to the House Veterans Affairs Committee earlier this week. So far, there is no similar proposal over in the Senate.