Sen. Graham explains new bill to help Veterans Affairs

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Sen. Lindsey Graham spent Wednesday traveling the state talking about upcoming changes to the VA health care system. He said he was involved in developing the legislation to fix the broken system.

"This bill shows respect to the veteran. It's a long overdue sign of respect," said Graham at an event in Charleston, military veterans by his side.

At his Mount Pleasant office on Wednesday morning, Graham explained the contents of a new bill designed to fix ongoing problems with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"This bill changes the way people are held accountable. This bill provides money for doctors and nurses that are in great shortage. This bill gives a veteran a choice," said Graham.

That choice, according to the Senator, will allow veterans to visit nearby doctors if they live far away from VA hospitals. It provides $5 billion to hire more physicians.

And it gives $7 million to the opening a new primary care and dental clinic annex in Charleston.

"Money will not solve the problem. It's about attitude. It's about change and it's about leadership. It's time to quit talking about it," said Maj. Gen. James Livingston, a retired U.S. Marine Corp veteran and Medal of Honor recipient.

Still, he and other military leaders are hopeful this new legislation will reform what they believe is a broken system.

"Some of these guys that served in these wars and carried the wounds of the shrapnel today cannot get a job. It just won't happen. So I'm excited," said Joe Lysaght, District 2 American Legion Commander.

It's optimism for long-awaited changes.

"This is a good solution on paper. Six months from now, it better become a reality," warned Graham.