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As 2019 drew to a close, many Americans looked back on the year and the past decade and ran through their accomplishments and things they hope to improve in the 2020s. President Trump apparently did at least the first half of that exercise, tweeting a few hours before midnight on New Year's Eve that one of his "greatest honors" was "to have gotten CHOICE approved for our great Veterans. Others have tried for decades, and failed!" Maybe others failed, but former President Barack Obama did not — he signed the Veterans Choice Act into law in 2014.
What's more, the law was written by the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a frequent Trump critic, and current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Trump has been making this same false claim for months. In its fact-check from May, The Associated Press notes that "Trump did expand eligibility for the program," allowing veterans to opt for a private doctor if the VA wait was more than 20 days (28 days for specialists), not 30 days as under the Sanders-McCain bill, or they had to drive more than 30 minutes to a VA facility, not 40 miles. And VA Secretary Robert Wilkie — who also falsely claimed credit for changes implemented under Obama, AP notes — acknowledged that full implementation of the expanded Choice program won't happen for "years." Maybe by that point, the next president can take an undeserved victory lap.
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