FACT CHECK: Military & Veterans’ Health Care

For Immediate Release:

March 21, 2010

Contact:

Katie Grant
Stephanie Lundberg
(202) 225 - 3130


What Republicans are Saying
The health reform bill will undermine military and veterans’ health care.
 
Who’s the latest to say it?
Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN) said on the House Floor: “…Congress is moving a flawed bill that does not protect veterans.” 
 
Here’s the Truth
The VA Secretary and the Chairmen of five House committees have guaranteed that the health care legislation does not undermine or change the Department of Veterans Affairs mandate to provide comprehensive health care to veterans. Vietnam Veterans of America and Vote Vets also reaffirmed that the bill does in fact protect the health care our nation's veterans have earned and decried the scare tactics that have suggested otherwise. The House also passed yesterday H.R. 4887 – the TRICARE Affirmation Act- a bill to ensure that health care programs for veterans, active duty military, retired military, and their families/survivors are not affected negatively by the pending health care reform legislation.
 
Joint Letter from House Committees: “The House Democratic leadership asked our committees to review HR 3590 and HR 4872 to assess the impact of the bills on the health care provided by the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Our reviews of HR 3590 and HR 4872 lead us to believe that the intent of the bills was never to undermine or change the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs operation of their health care programs or interfere with the care that our service members receive under TRICARE.”
 
Statement from VA Secretary Shinseki: “As Secretary of Veterans Affairs, I accepted the solemn responsibility to uphold our sacred trust with our nation’s Veterans.  Fears that Veterans health care and TRICARE will be undermined by the health reform legislation are unfounded.  I am confident that the legislation being voted on today will provide the protections afforded our nation’s Veterans and the health care they have earned through their service.  The President and I stand firm in our commitment to those who serve and have served in our armed forces.  We pledge to continue to provide the men and women in uniform and our Veterans the high quality health care they have earned.”
Statement from Tammy Duckworth, Assistant VA Secretary: “Let me be unambiguous: The healthcare that Veterans receive through the VA system, including dependents of certain veterans enrolled in the CHAMPVA program, will be safe and sound under health reform. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs would continue to maintain sole authority over the system and for enhancing the quality and access for all eligible Veterans. In addition, TRICARE will continue to be available for all eligible servicemen and women, and their families.
 
Vietnam Veterans of America, John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA):  “It is unfortunate that some continue to raise what is now is even more clearly a false alarm that is apparently meant to frighten veterans and their families in order to prompt them to oppose the pending legislation. While there is legitimate debate as to whether or not the pending health care measures should become law, VVA does not appreciate spreading rumors that are not accurate by any political partisan from any point of the political spectrum."
 
Vet Voice, a project of VoteVets.org: VFW Lies for the GOP, Attempts to Kill Health Care