Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced bipartisan legislation to make health care more affordable for America’s veterans. The Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act would stop forcing our nation’s veterans to pay out-of-pocket costs for essential preventive health medications and prescription drugs and add preventive medications and services to the list of no-fee treatments that VA covers. Under current law, veterans must pay co-pays for preventive health care services that service members, military retirees, and civilians with private insurance plans receive for free.
“We owe it to our veterans to provide them with the high-quality health care they have earned through their service to our country,” said Senator Collins. “By removing the copayment requirement for preventive health care, our legislation would protect patients from experiencing serious illnesses that are costly to treat and promote the health and well-being of our veterans.”
“All Americans deserve access to the best healthcare possible—especially the Veterans who risked life and limb to defend our nation and made significant sacrifices on our behalf,” said Senator Duckworth. “This common-sense bipartisan legislation will ensure we’re no longer asking Veterans to pay more for essential health services than every other insured American, while saving taxpayer dollars in the process. I’m proud to join Senator Collins in introducing our Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act today.”
“Veterans who rely on VA for their healthcare needs and the uninsured are the only Americans forced to pay for preventive medications,” said VFW Executive Director Robert E. Wallace. “There is no excusable reason why every other American can receive breast cancer prevention medicine cost-free, but veterans must pay. It is unsatisfactory that every other American prone to falls and breaking bones can receive cost-free Vitamin D supplements, but our warriors with TBI must pay. The VFW thanks Senators Duckworth and Collins for introducing legislation to end this inequity. The VFW urges Congress to pass the Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act, and remove unnecessary barriers to healthcare for our nation’s veterans.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seven of ten deaths in this country are caused by chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease and breast cancer that nearly half of all adults suffer from, and many of those illnesses are preventable with early and effective treatment. Catching these potentially fatal illnesses early may avoid costly and complex treatments down the line and, more important, increase patient survival odds. That’s one reason current law requires every insurer except the VA to cover important preventive services and medications at no additional cost to insured individuals.
The bipartisan Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act would provide veterans preventive medication and services cost-free, the same benefit that all other insured Americans receive, and enhance continuity of care for service members transitioning from military health care coverage. This will ensure the health benefits provided to military personnel, veterans, military retirees and civilians are subject to consistent copay standards for preventive health services. The legislation is endorsed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), The American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).