Underwood, Duckworth, Collins, Zeldin, Gonzalez Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Make Health Care More Affordable for Veterans

May 20, 2021
Press Release
Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act would eliminate copays for preventive health services, including contraception, immunizations, and cancer screenings

WASHINGTON—Today, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Representatives Lee Zeldin (NY-01) and Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16) introduced the Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act to make health care more affordable for veterans. Under current law, veterans receiving care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are required to make copayments for certain preventive prescription medications and services—services 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 eliminate copay requirements for preventive services recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Health Resources & Services Administration. The bill would ensure that services such as immunizations; screenings for depression, intimate partner violence, and breast cancer; breastfeeding support and supplies, contraceptives; well-woman visits; and certain drugs that prevent more advanced, costly medical conditions would be available to veterans without any copayments. 

“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. The Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act makes preventive health services like cancer screenings, immunizations, and well-woman visits more affordable for veterans by eliminating copays, just like most private insurance plans,” said Rep. Underwood. “I’m pleased to introduce this bipartisan bill with Senator Duckworth, Senator Collins, and Representatives Zeldin and Gonzalez to lower health care costs for veterans and ensure that our nation’s heroes can access the health services they need.  

“All Americans deserve access to the best healthcare possible—especially the Veterans who risked life and limb to defend our nation and made significant sacrifices on our behalf,” said Senator Duckworth. “This common-sense bipartisan legislation that I’m introducing today with Senator Collins and Representative Underwood would ensure we’re no longer asking Veterans to pay more for essential health services than every other insured American, while saving taxpayer dollars in the process.” 

“We owe it to our veterans to provide them with the high-quality health care they have earned through their service to our country,” said Senator Collins. “By removing the copayment requirement for preventive health care, our legislation would protect patients from experiencing serious illnesses that are costly to treat and promote the health and well-being of our veterans.” 

“Too many veterans return home only to face overwhelming healthcare costs at the VA for conditions associated with their service. This legislation takes important steps to make preventative health services more affordable and accessible for veterans, and I’m proud to work in a bipartisan fashion with Rep. Lauren Underwood to improve the lives of those who have sacrificed so much for our country,” said Rep. Zeldin.  

“When it comes to supporting the men and women who selflessly sacrificed so much to defend our country, there is truly never enough we can do to repay them for their service,” Rep. Gonzalez said. “Our veterans deserve affordable access to quality preventive medical care and services. This bipartisan legislation will help achieve this commitment by eliminating copayments for medication and other preventive medical services. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this legislation.” 

The Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act is endorsed by Disabled American Veterans (DAV); National Women’s Law Center; Paralyzed Veterans of America; The Veterans of Foreign Wars; and Women Veterans Interactive.