Underwood, Duckworth, Collins, Tester, Brownley, Fitzpatrick, Zeldin Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Reduce Health Care Costs and Protect Veterans’ Access to Health Care During Coronavirus Pandemic
The second bipartisan bill that Underwood and Duckworth have introduced to lower health care costs for veterans and eliminate unfair copays faced by our nation’s heroes
WASHINGTON— Today, Representative Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and Representatives Julia Brownley (CA-26), Lee Zeldin (NY-01), and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) introduced new bipartisan legislation to reduce health care costs and ensure parity for veterans impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The No Coronavirus Copays for Veterans Act (H.R. 6845) 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.
In March, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which waived copays for qualifying items, services, or immunizations intended to prevent or mitigate coronavirus—including an eventual vaccine— for Medicare beneficiaries and privately insured individuals. However, the CARES Act did not extend these protections to veterans receiving VHA care. The No Coronavirus Copays for Veterans Act corrects this loophole to ensure that veterans are equally protected.
"Our nation’s heroes have sacrificed so much to protect our country, and we must honor their service by making sure they have the care they’ve earned when they come home. During this critical time, it’s more important than ever that we do not leave our veterans behind,” said Underwood. “I’m introducing the No Coronavirus Copays for Veterans Act with Senator Duckworth to ensure that veterans can access coronavirus preventive services without financial barriers.”
“All Americans deserve access to the best healthcare possible—especially those who’ve sacrificed to defend our nation—and that healthcare includes the eventual COVID-19 vaccine and preventive services related to the virus,” Duckworth said. “I’m proud to introduce this common-sense bipartisan legislation today with Congresswoman Underwood, Senator Collins and Senator Tester to make sure Veterans don’t have to pay more for vaccines or preventive services related to COVID-19 than other insured Americans.”
"While the development of a COVID-19 vaccine is on-going, we must ensure all veterans will be able to access the vaccine once it's ready, and we must eliminate barriers to providing this life-saving healthcare to our nation’s veterans. I appreciate Congresswoman Underwood's leadership on this issue, and the bipartisan support of our colleagues, Congressman Zeldin and Congressman Fitzpatrick,” said Brownley.
“Our veterans have served to keep the rest of us safe. No veteran should have to owe a copay for COVID-19 preventive services when using their V.A. benefits. I am proud to join this bipartisan effort to support our veterans,” said Fitzpatrick.
A one-pager of the No Coronavirus Copays for Veterans Act can be found here.
In addition to the No Coronavirus Copays for Veterans Act, Underwood and Duckworth have introduced H.R. 3932, the Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act. Under current law, veterans receiving care through the Department of Veterans Affairs are required to make copayments for preventive services and immunizations, which are covered without cost sharing by nearly all private insurance companies due to requirements under the Affordable Care Act. The Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act would ensure parity by removing copay requirements for preventive services and medications recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Health Resources & Services Administration.
The No Coronavirus Copays for Veterans Act is endorsed by American Veterans (AMVETS), and the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN).