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Berkley Warns Nevada Vets They Will Pay More for Rx Drugs, as VA Announces Hike in Co-Pays

Location: Washington, DC

Berkley Warns Nevada Vets They Will Pay More for Rx Drugs, as VA Announces Hike in Co-Pays

(Washington, DC -- November 16, 2005) Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV) today warned Nevada veterans that they would be paying more out of their own pockets for prescription drugs, following an announcement by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that it will increase drug co-payments by one dollar ($1) per prescription.

"Increasing fees will directly impact older veterans and those who rely on multiple prescriptions to treat chronic diseases and illnesses. While one dollar more per prescription may not sound like a lot, veterans in Nevada and across the nation will pay an additional $75 million out of their own pockets for medicines as a result of the Bush Administration's decision," said Berkley.

The Bush Administration's decision to raise co-payments for veterans follows a call by the President in this year's budget to double the amount that former servicemembers pay for prescription drugs. Berkley, a member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, opposed the Bush plan to raise fees on veterans and questioned today's announced increase.

"I opposed the President's plan to double co-payments when it was part of this year's budget, and I continue to question why are we attempting to balance the books on the backs of those who served our nation in the armed forces. Higher fees for veterans means less money for other needs, including food and housing. America's veterans answered the call to duty when our nation beckoned, and we should not repay their service by slashing services or raising the cost of healthcare," said Berkley, who serves as Ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs.

Berkley noted that veterans may be exempt from co-payments if their families have medical expenses that reduce income. And she urged low-income Nevada veterans to be sure that VA is counting their co-payments, and all other medical expenses, in determining their income.

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