Yesterday, Representative Julia Brownley (CA-26), Ranking Member of the Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Health, and Representative Mike Michaud (ME-2), Ranking Member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, introduced the "Veterans Medical Access Act" (H.R. 1284), which is intended to provide better access for blind and severely disabled veterans to the health care they need.
"Too often, blind and catastrophically disabled veterans choose not to travel to VA medical centers for care because they can't afford the costs associated with the travel -- that is unacceptable," said Representative Julia Brownley. "As a result, many of our veterans go without proper treatment, and they develop far worse health conditions and face higher medical costs. Ranking Member Michaud and I introduced this bill to ensure those who have so honorably served our country have the resources they need to access the highest quality of care."
"No veteran should be deterred from seeking needed medical care at a VA facility due to travel constraints," said Representative Mike Michaud. "Providing ready access to health care is a critical part of living up to our nation's shared commitment to all who've served. I appreciate Representative Brownley's leadership on this issue and thank her for introducing this bill. It will remove barriers and help more veterans get the care they need."
Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is required to cover the cost of transportation for veterans requiring medical care for service-connected injuries. The Veterans Medical Access Act would extend these travel benefits to a veteran with vision impairment, a veteran with a spinal cord injury or disorder, or a veteran with double or multiple amputations whose travel is in connection with care provided through a special disabilities rehabilitation program of the VA.
Representative Julia Brownley currently serves on the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Health.