Legislation to Eliminate Copayment Requirements for Essential Preventive Medications and Medical Services for Veterans Using VA Health Care
Representative Lee Zeldin (NY) and Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL) introduced the Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act (H.R. 1100 and S. 1161), legislation that would eliminate requirements for veterans to make copayments for medical care and medications related to preventive health services delivered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This legislation would place VA in parity with the Department of Defense, as well as meeting the Affordable Care Act's standard relative to copayments for preventive health services for private sector health plans.
For veterans required to make copayments, VA charges $15 for basic care and $50 for specialty care visits and between $5-$11 for medication. With the passage of this legislation, veterans would continue to benefit from VA preventive health care and wellness services, but without the cost sharing. The VA health care system has been a leader in quality care and promoting the benefits of preventative services for veterans-many who are life-long patients. With its medically complex patient population, coordinating a comprehensive array of preventive and wellness services has helped VA contain costs and improve health outcomes for veterans. However, VA has been out of step in requiring copayments for health maintenance and preventive care services.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the Health Resources and Services Administration have made suggestions for preventative services including vaccines and women's preventive health care - such as mammograms, screenings for cervical cancer, prenatal care, and other services that show significant benefit in disease prevention. These services are now routinely provided free of charge in private sector care plans.
These bills are consistent with DAV Resolution No. 115, which calls for the elimination or reduction of medical and medication co-pays, and DAV Resolution No. 128, calling for support of comprehensive health care services in VA. Veterans, through their patriotism, devotion, and sacrifices, have already paid the price for their health care, and as a grateful nation, our government should fully honor its moral obligation to care for veterans and generously provide them benefits and health care entirely without charge.
Please contact your elected officials and ask that they cosponsor and pass this important legislation-H.R. 1100 or S. 1161