By Debbie Gregory.
Ever an advocate for our nation’s veterans, U.S. Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26) has issued a statement about a provision of the House Republican’s healthcare bill that could hurt veterans and their families:
“We have known for months that the GOP healthcare bill could strip roughly 7 million veterans of eligibility for healthcare tax credit assistance. Despite warnings from our veterans service organizations, and pleas from veterans across the country, President Trump and Speaker Ryan have recklessly forged ahead despite the consequences,” stated Brownley. “While I am deeply concerned about many aspects of this bill, the rush to put politics ahead of people, and the impact it could have on our veterans as a consequence, is simply shameful.”
Language in the bill could deny tax credits to any individual who is “eligible” for other healthcare programs, like VA healthcare or TRICARE. This provision potentially denies 7 million veterans access to healthcare, because though they are technically eligible, they are not currently enrolled in VA healthcare.
Furthermore, on April 25th, Rep. Brownley, along with Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-05) introduced H.R. 2123, the Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support (VETS) Act of 2017.
Under current law, VA doctors can provide treatment via the phone or internet chat services for many routine appointments. But the rules prohibit physicians from providing those services across state lines, unless both the veteran and the doctor are in federal facilities. The VETS Act of 2017 removes these barriers and allows the VA to provide treatment through physicians free of this restriction.
“As Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health, I believe that we need to meet veterans where they are. The rapid growth of technology offers new possibilities for providing timely, quality healthcare that best suits veterans’ needs,” Brownley said.
Veterans would no longer be required to travel to a VA facility, but rather could receive telemedicine treatment from anywhere, including their home or a community center.