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Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


CHIROPRACTIC CARE AVAILABLE TO ALL VETERANS ACT -- (House of Representatives - May 23, 2007)

Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 1470) to amend the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Programs Enhancement Act of 2001 to require the provision of chiropractic care and services to veterans at all Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers.

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Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

We are continuing with a packet of seven bills from the Veterans' Affairs Committee that is really a thank-you in prelude to Memorial Day, a thank-you to our Nation's veterans. Memorial Day is a tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

What we are saying is we're honoring them and all our veterans who are living with us in the United States. And as I said earlier, no matter where we are on the current debate on the war in Iraq, we are united in saying that every young woman, every young man who returns from that battle gets all the care, the attention, the love, the honor, the dignity that a grateful Nation can bestow. And that's what we are saying in these bills today.

We have already passed a bill which extends from 2 years to 5 years the ability of any returning service member in combat to access the VA health care system. Two years was not sufficient for those who might have brain injuries, who might have PTSD, posttraumatic stress disorder. These are, in many cases, hidden diseases. You don't know that you have it. A doctor may not diagnose it at first, and so as time goes by, you may feel the need to access the VA health care system. So we have extended that from 2 years to 5 years.

In addition, we have passed a new outreach program to meet especially the needs of rural veterans, and we will continue this package in the hour ahead.

Veterans returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan should be able to depend on medical services that they want being available in the system of health care that was built to take care of them and their unique needs.

For those returning veterans seeking care in a VA health care system, we know that the most common health problems are under the category of musculoskeletal ailments, principally joint and back disorders. We hear a lot about brain injury and PTSD, and those we have to give a lot of resources to, but 42 percent of veterans coming to the health care system have been presented to the VA with the needs of joint and back disorders.

This bill, the Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act, requires that chiropractic services be made available in not fewer than 75 VA medical centers by the end of December 2009 and all the health care centers by the end of 2011.

Undoubtedly the returning service members will be able to benefit from this care. I speak from experience as I have had chiropractic care a good part of my life. I am confident that with expansion of these services within VA, many veterans will be able to find relief from their pain.

Since the creation of the VA health care system, the Nation's doctors of chiropractic have been kept outside and all but prevented from providing proven, cost-effective and needed care to veterans. So we are grateful that access is becoming wider and wider.

The support for VA chiropractic service is bipartisan. Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi released a policy directive before his departure several years ago regarding the true and full integration of chiropractic care in the VA.

Secretary Nicholson and I have developed a solid working relationship, and chiropractic care is an area where we will be working closely together. Both Republican and Democratic Members have supported the inclusion of chiropractic care in the VA.

I have worked very closely with chiropractic patients, particularly our veterans, as well as with various associations dedicated to the profession such as the American Chiropractic Association.

Veterans are returning home from combat expecting to receive needed services. Let us not disappoint them. Expansion of chiropractic services is the right thing to do, and it is the least we can do for our returning heroes.

I urge support of H.R. 1470.

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Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, I have a parliamentary inquiry.

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Capuano). Does the gentleman from Indiana yield for a parliamentary inquiry?

Mr. BUYER. I would yield to the chairman for a parliamentary inquiry and respond to the question.

Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, is it a requirement that committees have to file reports with legislation that is very straightforward?

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The motion to suspend the rules obviates any point of order on such issues.

Mr. FILNER. I thank you, and I hope the ranking member heard that.

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Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, am I required to engage in political debate with the ranking member when we are discussing a bill very important to veterans?

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman has not stated a point of parliamentary inquiry.

Mr. FILNER. I would inform the ranking member that I am not going to respond to political debate.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Indiana has the time.

Mr. BUYER. Thank you. I would yield back to the gentleman, since he did not address a parliamentary inquiry during his question. I yield to him, if you would like to have a statement.

Mr. FILNER. It's your time.

Mr. BUYER. Pardon? I yield to the chairman.

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Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and to include extraneous material on H.R. 1470.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California?

There was no objection.

Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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