Earlier this week the House passed legislation to expand caregiver benefits to pre-9/11 veterans as well as begin a major reform to strengthen the VA health care system, but now we need to be sure it passes the Senate next week.
The legislation, called the VA MISSION Act, developed in collaboration with DAV and other VSOs has strong bipartisan support in the House and Senate-passing the House by a vote of 347 to 70. The bill is supported by virtually every major veterans organization, including DAV, PVA, VFW and The American Legion. Now we need to ensure that every Senator understands how important this legislation is to DAV members, their families and caregivers.
As you know, DAV has long advocated for extending comprehensive caregiver benefits to veterans injured and ill prior to September 11, 2001. Thanks to all of your efforts supporting our Unsung Heroes Initiative over the past year, this legislation would take major strides to provide equity to thousands of family caregivers currently ineligible for that benefit because they served prior to 9/11. This will be the most important vote for caregivers in almost a decade and we must be certain that Congress hears our voices.
The legislation would also consolidate VA’s community care programs and develop integrated networks of VA and community providers to supplement, not supplant VA health care, so that all enrolled veterans have timely access to quality medical care. In addition, it would provide VA with new tools to hire and retain quality health care professionals to expand VA’s internal capacity. Finally, the bill would require the development of a long-term plan to realign and modernize VA’s health care infrastructure so that its hospitals and clinics are located where veterans will need them in the future.
Please use the prepared electronic letter, or draft your own, to urge your Member of Congress to support and vote for the VA MISSION Act.
Thanks for your continuing support of America’s injured and ill veterans, their families and caregivers.