(WASHINGTON) – The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) today applauded the leadership of Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, for championing legislation extending eligibility for free health care for returning service members from two to five years. The full House passed the bill, HR. 612, by a vote of 419-0 this week.
“Chairman Filner has moved this long overdue proposal early in the new Congress. It will benefit a significant number of veterans whose medical needs do not emerge within the first two years after discharge,” said AFGE national president John Gage.
The full House also gave unanimous support to another critical piece of legislation coming out of Chairman Filner’s committee. H.R. 2199, introduced by Health Subcommittee Chair Michael Michaud (D-Me) addresses the complicated health needs of service members suffering from traumatic brain injury by establishing new trauma centers, a mandatory treatment program and $70 million for TBI research.
Companion bills, addressing both the extended eligibility time limit and the traumatic brain injury care, have already been introduced by Senate VA Committee Chair Daniel Akaka.
The House also passed four other pieces of legislation to address long-standing needs within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). “Congress has an obligation to fulfill the promises of providing care to service members committed to serving this nation. This landmark legislation goes a long way in making good on that promise,” said John Gage, AFGE national president. “Congress took the time to listen to the veterans and those providing for their care and responded overwhelmingly.”