Rep. Foster Votes for Veterans
Supports Improving Health Services, Increasing the Cost-of-Living Adjustment
Today, Rep. Bill Foster (IL-14) highlighted his concern for veterans by supporting measures that would expand access to the Department of Veterans Affairs and increase the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).
"Whether it was the two votes I cast today, or voting for the GI Bill back in June, one of my top priorities in Congress is to improve the lives of our veterans. They should receive the same increases in benefits as Social Security recipients, and their care should not be sacrificed because they live too far from a VA facility," Rep. Foster said. "Distance should not discourage our wounded warriors from receiving the best care."
Rep. Foster voted for H.R. 1527, which allows the most underserved rural veterans - young and old alike - to take advantage of existing rural health providers, such as local hospitals, community health centers and rural health clinics. To qualify, a veteran must live at least 60 miles from a VA primary care facility like an outpatient clinic, 120 miles from a VA hospital or 240 miles from a VA specialized care facility. Additionally, the VA would be required to fill prescriptions written by non-VA doctors for these veterans. The House passed the bill with bi-partisan support by 417-0.
"Veterans should always be able to access health providers, no matter where they live. This bill will ensure that all of our veterans will have access to quality health care, even those living in rural areas," Rep. Foster said.
Rep. Foster voted in favor of S. 2617. The bill works to improve veterans' compensation through an increase to the COLA. If signed into law, the bill would increase, as of December 1, 2008, the rates of veterans' disability compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children, and additional related benefits. Foster joined the bi-partisan majority, which passed the bill 418-0. The legislation will go to the president next for his signature.
Said Foster, "There are more than 44,000 veterans in my district that I am proud to serve. Today's votes are a but a small step that this country can take to demonstrate how grateful we are for the work they have done to protect our country and preserve our freedom, whether they served sixty-five years ago in Africa or sixty-five days ago in Afghanistan."