Magazine article VFW Magazine

Fix Health Care Law, Says VFW

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Fix Health Care Law, Says VFW

Article excerpt

LEGISLATION

"The new national health care bill signed into law by President Obama on March 23 is flawed, not because of what it provides, but because of what it does not protect - all the health care programs provided by Defense and VA," said VFW Commander-in-Chief Thomas Tradewell, Sr.

Tradewell said a problem was recognized in the bill in late March by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), who introduced legislation to specifically protect all military Tricare programs, as well as non-appropriated fund health plans. His bill passed March 20 by a vote of 403-0, but its introduction and passage raised a serious question: What else was missing from the national health care bill?

Buried on page 333 of a 2,400-page document were four lines of text that only recognized Tricare for Life and veterans' health care programs under Chapter 17, Title 38, as being accepted as minimum essential coverage under the new law. No specific language to protect other Tricare programs or other Title 38 recipients - dependents, widows or children - could be found.

"We know why the House had to pass the Senate version intact, but bill language is important because it becomes the law of the land," said Tradewell. "VFW could not sit idly by and watch legislation get passed that did not protect all the health care programs provided by the nation's two largest federal departments. We have constituents, too, and they look to us to watch their backs on Capitol Hill."

VFW is now working with members of Congress from both parties to submit amendments or legislation to fix the new national health care law. …

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