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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. CASTOR of Florida. I rise for the purpose of a colloquy regarding an amendment that I had intended to offer relating to military families.

Mr. Chair, our military personnel have access to great health care through TRICARE, but in certain cases--and many would be surprised to learn this--TRICARE does not cover every health service. And this comes into play sometimes with children of military families with special needs. There's also a circumstance when someone in the military is separating from the military but they don't have retirement benefits, and their family, their children, may not have access to health insurance.

I ran into this in a case back home in Tampa, Florida, at MacDill Air Force Base, not unlike many of our colleagues here who participate in forums for veterans and job fairs and the like. The military health folks didn't know a lot about Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, whether it applied to military families that they talked to all of the time or those families that are separating from the military and are no longer covered by TRICARE. So we tried to investigate this with the Pentagon a little bit, but they were not able to clarify anything for us.

I have done a little research. There was one report, entitled, ``Medicaid's Role in Treating Children in Military Families.'' That report advised that 1 in 12 children from military families rely on Medicaid for some health service; and for children with special needs in the military families, 1 in 9. I was surprised to learn that, frankly. Plus, we have many that have served in the military and have come back from Iraq or Afghanistan and have a lot of questions about what it means for them finding a job, finding coverage for their family as they move on in their lives.

So I had intended to offer an amendment that simply clarifies the fact that nothing prohibits DOD from providing that information at a job fair, a health fair, or advising military families that the Medicaid coverage or the SCHIP coverage could be an option. So I would really like to work with Chairman Young, the Department of Defense, and Ranking Member Dicks so that our military families don't have to worry about health coverage, whether they're in the military, they have children, children with special needs, or they're separating from the military and they just simply need answers to questions about where they can turn.

I yield to the chairman.


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