To follow on the President’s speech today marking the launch of the post-9/11 GI Bill, we wanted to offer the following update on what health reform means for veterans.
The President is committed to ensuring that the Department of Veterans Affairs provides America’s veterans the highest-quality health care possible. His budget requests the largest single-year increase in funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs in three decades, and significantly expands coverage, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded.
Health reform will only build on the President’s commitment to veterans’ health care. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans. Also, veterans and their families will have additional choices for high-quality, affordable health care, with consumer protections that prevent insurance companies from denying coverage or setting a limit on the coverage they will provide.
The health reform legislation that the House of Representatives is considering would enable those who are covered by VA care, including dependents of certain veterans enrolled in the CHAMPVA program, to meet the individual responsibility mandate; thereby exempting such veterans and dependants from being assessed penalties. If enacted, the President will ensure that this exemption is implemented aggressively. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs would continue to maintain sole authority over the system and for enhancing the quality and access for all eligible veterans.