RURAL VETERANS ACCESS TO CARE ACT -- (House of Representatives - September 09, 2008)
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Mr. SALAZAR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Mr. Moran, the gentleman from Kansas.
Today, Mr. Speaker, I rise to support H.R. 1527, the Rural Veterans Access to Care Act. I want to thank Congressman Moran for introducing this bill, and I want to thank him for being a champion for rural veterans. I have never once in my career here in Congress ever seen him make a veterans issue a partisan issue.
I want to thank you for that.
Mr. Speaker, I am proud to represent a district similar to Mr. Moran's to over 69,000 veterans. These are hardworking people who inspire future generations to serve our Nation. Many of our veterans live in rural and low-income communities. In big cities veterans are located closer together. In rural districts like mine, we have veterans that are spread out over a wide area. This makes it difficult for them to get the resources they need.
The Rural Veterans Access to Care Act will allow highly rural veterans to see a non-VA health care provider. It establishes a 3-year pilot program. Part of it will be in Colorado as well. The pilot program is a great opportunity to see the potential impact of this program on the quality of veterans and the care for veterans. This bill is important because of unique travel challenges in rural areas. Long distances, dangerous terrain, unpredictable weather can make it very difficult to get to a VA facility.
H.R. 1527 will take the necessary steps to making health care more accessible to our Nation's rural veterans. I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support our rural veterans, and support this bill.
Thank you to the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Moran) for allowing me to speak on this bill. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your bipartisan effort in trying to make sure that we address veterans' issues in a nonpartisan way.
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