REP. ANDREWS FIGHTS FOR VETERANS' HEALTH CARE
Government officials talk a lot these days about thanking the brave men and women of the United States Military for their heroic sacrifices defending freedom. While I join in those sentiments, I believe we must do more than just provide words of thanks. Providing the healthcare coverage to these brave men and women that was promised to them in return for their service to their Nation is one way we can show our appreciation. This Administration, however, continues to shortchange our veterans. Last year, the national budget did not allocate adequate funding for veterans' health care. In addition, the budget proposed to double veterans' co-pays on prescription drugs and add an annual $250 health care "fee" on the backs of many veterans. I wrote a letter to the House Appropriations Committee to fight these plans, and emergency funding was successfully obtained for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
This year's proposed budget once again undercuts the VA's ability to provide health care for the men and women who have honorably served our military. I have written House Speaker Hastert asking him to include $630 million in emergency supplemental funding. I have cosponsored H.R. 515, the Assured Funding for Veterans Health Care Act, so that no future Administration can undercut what our veterans are owed. This Administration also continues to freeze the health care enrollment of "Priority 8" veterans whose incomes exceed approximately $35,000. Due to these freezes over five-thousand veterans were denied medical attention last year in the State of New Jersey. I am an original cosponsor to the Honor Our Commitment to Veterans Act (H.R. 3312), which, if enacted, would allow these veterans to receive the health care to which they are entitled. Our priority should be to our veterans. I will fight against the President's budget to ensure our veterans get the health care they deserve.