The official blog of American Veteran Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Congress Reassures Veterans on Health Care Reform

Yesterday, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs received a letter from the Energy & Commerce, Ways & Means, and Education & Labor committees assuring veterans that language in the proposed health care reform bill (H.R. 3200) would be changed to ensure that VA coverage is considered "adequate" and that veterans would still have access to the proposed exchange for their loved ones. The two-page letter can be viewed at the bottom of this posting.

After President Obama's recent speech on health care reform, AMVETS sent a letter to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs calling for these specific issues to be addressed. At the time, AMVETS leaders thought the President missed the mark on veterans' concerns over health care reform during the speech. Now, AMVETS leaders are happy to see that Congress is addressing these specific concerns.

Earlier this summer, House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) sent a letter saying that veterans would not be affected by the reforms outlined in H.R. 3200. However, AMVETS remained skeptical of the unintended consequences of the legislation as-written, which left the definitions of "adequate coverage" open to the interpretation of several cabinet offices. AMVETS was also concerned that if veterans only received enough care from VA to be considered "adequate," that they would not have access to the exchange for additional coverage and coverage for dependents.

Yesterday's letter, signed by Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), Education & Labor Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.), and Waxman, put these concerns to rest by assuring the veterans community that the language would change.

AMVETS National Legislative Director Ray Kelley said he was happy to read the letter and that AMVETS looks forward to working with Congress in the coming months to ensure that veterans and their dependents receive proper access to care in any proposed health care reform without penalty or other unforseen consequences.

Check back regularly with American Veteran Online for updates.

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