Congresswomen introduce bill aimed to make preventive health care more affordable for veterans

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Abbie Bennett

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Veterans should not have to pay copays for preventive health services and should get supportive care for breastfeeding without cost-sharing — like many civilians, according to a new bill filed by two congresswomen. 

Rep. Lauren Underwood and Sen. Tammy Duckworth — both Illinois Democrats — announced the House introduction of their bipartisan legislation that they say is intended to make health care more affordable for veterans. 

Under the law now, veterans who get their care through the Department of Veterans Affairs are required to pay copays for preventative prescription medication and services — unlike most others whose medication and services are covered by  “nearly all private insurance companies” because of the Affordable Care Act, the congresswomen said in a news release. 

The Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act eliminates those copays.

“It is unconscionable that veterans who have served our country bear financial burdens that military retirees, federal employees, and most civilians do not have to worry about,” Underwood said in a statement.”These small changes will have a profound impact and could save veterans hundreds of dollars each year in healthcare costs.”

The bill would remove copays for:

  • Immunizations
  • Screenings for depression
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Breast cancer screenings
  • Breastfeeding support and supplies
  • Contraceptives
  • Well-woman visits
  • Preventive drugs 

“All Americans deserve access to the best healthcare possible — including and especially those who’ve sacrificed to defend our nation,” Duckworth said in a statement. “I’m proud to work with Congresswoman Underwood to pass my bipartisan Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act to ensure Veterans don’t have to pay more for essential health services than other insured Americans.”

The legislation is supported by the VFW, American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America and DAV. 

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Reach Abbie Bennett: or @AbbieRBennett.