Underwood, Duckworth, Brownley, Zeldin, Fitzpatrick Announce Bipartisan Introduction of the No Coronavirus Copays for Veterans Act
WASHINGTON— Today, Representatives Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Lee Zeldin (NY-01), and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) introduced bipartisan legislation to eliminate cost barriers to COVID-19 vaccinations for veterans in the House of Representatives. The No Coronavirus Copays for Veterans Act ensures that veterans who receive health care from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) are not liable for out-of-pocket costs for qualifying coronavirus preventive services, like COVID-19 vaccines. The companion legislation, led in the Senate by Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), will be introduced in the coming weeks.
The legislation, originally introduced in May 2020, seeks to extend federal protections included in the CARES Act for civilians that waived copays for qualifying items, services, or immunizations intended to prevent or mitigate coronavirus to veterans receiving VHA care, ensuring that veterans are equally protected.
"Veterans sacrificed so much to protect our country, and we must honor their service by always making sure they have the care they’ve earned and deserve. As our nation continues to face the coronavirus pandemic, it’s critical that veterans never be assessed an out-of-pocket expense for a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Representative Underwood. “I’m introducing the bipartisan No Coronavirus Copays for Veterans Act to ensure that veterans can protect themselves against COVID-19 without facing any financial barriers.”
“Every American deserves access to the best healthcare possible—particularly those who’ve served our nation in uniform—and that must include COVID-19 vaccinations and preventive services related to the virus,” Duckworth said. “I commend Congresswoman Underwood for introducing this bipartisan bill and look forward to working with her and our coalition of cosponsors to make sure Veterans never pay more for vaccines or preventive services related to COVID-19 than other insured Americans."
"Our nation’s brave servicemembers have earned nothing but the highest quality care, and as we all work to finish the fight against coronavirus, ensuring they receive the treatment they need to battle this novel outbreak is critical," said Representative Lee Zeldin. "I'm proud to work alongside my colleague Congresswoman Underwood to ensure our veterans are not left behind during these ever-changing times and that they receive the benefits they have earned."
“As we continue to fight the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that our veterans are able access the vaccine necessary to protect themselves and their families. This important legislation would close an unintended loophole in the CARES Act and ensure that veterans will not face additional financial barriers to care,” said Representative Brownley.
“Our heroic veterans have sacrificed so much to serve and keep our country safe,” said Representative Fitzpatrick. “No veteran should have to pay out of pocket for COVID-19 preventive services when using V.A. benefits. I am proud to join my bipartisan colleagues in reintroducing this legislation to support our veterans.”
A one-page of the bill can be found here.
The No Coronavirus Copays for Veterans Act is endorsed by American Veterans (AMVETS), and the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN).
“Veterans in our country have been affected by the coronavirus in devastating ways. The virus has not only threatened veterans’ health, but it has impacted their financial stability and mental health. This legislation is intended to prohibit the VA from requiring co-payment for preventive services related to COVID-19, such as a vaccine. Our veterans have already felt the burden of the virus, and for those who choose to receive the vaccination, they should be able to do so without facing a financial burden,” said Joseph Chenelly, AMVETS Executive Director.