Veterans' Affairs Subcommittees Advance Legislation to Improve Care, Benefits for Veterans

The Health Subcommittee approved an amendment to H.R. 1377 and voted to report the bill favorably to the Full Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. The Subcommittee held a legislative hearing on the bill on March 3, 2009.

H.R. 1377 (as amended), To expand veteran eligibility for reimbursement by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for emergency treatment furnished in a non-Department facility, and for other purposes; (Filner D-CA-51). This bill would expand veteran eligibility to require the VA to pay for emergency treatment for a non-service connected condition if a third party is not responsible for paying for the full cost of care. The bill clarifies that the VA only pay the difference between the amounts paid by the third party and the VA allowable amount, and is not responsible for copayments the veteran owes to the third party.
The Economic Opportunity Subcommittee reported five bills favorably to the Full Committee on Veterans’ Affairs: H.R. 228, H.R. 466, H.R. 1088, and H.R. 1171. The Subcommittee amended H.R. 1089 and approved the bill. The Subcommittee held a legislative hearing on these bills on March 4, 2009, which can be accessed here:

H.R. 228, To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a scholarship program for students seeking a degree or certificate in the areas of visual impairment and orientation and mobility; (Jackson-Lee D-TX). This bill would establish a scholarship program of financial assistance for individuals who are accepted for, or currently enrolled in, a program of study leading to a degree or certificate in visual impairment or orientation and mobility, or both; and agree to serve, after program completion, as a full-time VA employee for three years within the first six years after program completion.
H.R. 466, Wounded Veteran Job Security Act; (Doggett D-TX). This bill would prohibit discrimination and acts of reprisal against persons who receive treatment for illnesses, injuries, and disabilities incurred in or aggravated by service in the uniformed services.
H.R. 1088, Mandatory Veteran Specialist Training Act of 2009; (Herseth Sandlin D-SD). This bill would provide for a one-year period for the training of new disabled veterans' outreach program specialists and local veterans' employment representatives by National Veterans' Employment and Training Services Institute.
H.R. 1089 (as amended), Veterans Employment Rights Realignment Act of 2009; (Herseth Sandlin D-SD). This bill would provide for the enforcement through the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) of the employment and unemployment rights of veterans and members of the Armed Forces employed by Federal executive agencies.
H.R. 1171, Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization Act of 2009; (Boozman R-AR). This bill would reauthorize the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program for fiscal years 2010 through 2014.
The bills must be approved by the Full House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs before being considered by the House of Representatives.

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