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Higgins Votes to Approve Bills That Improve Health Care For Veterans

Jun 24, 2009
Press Release

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) voted with his colleagues in the House of Representatives to approve keys bills which will provide critical support services and funding for veterans: H.R. 1016, the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform & Transparency Act and H.R. 1211, the Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act.

“In conjunction with last week’s Home for Heroes Act, this latest series of legislation demonstrates a comprehensive commitment to supporting our veterans and their families,” said Congressman Higgins.  “By providing the VA with their budget in advance and expanding services to women who served this Nation, veterans in Western New York and across the country will be able to receive the care that they deserve more immediately and effectively.”

The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform & Transparency Act (H.R. 1016) authorizes appropriations for VA Department medical care programs up to a year in advance. With a history of delayed VA budgets over 19 of the last 22 years, establishing advanced budget planning will ensure continued investments in health care and seamless health care delivery for long-time and recently discharged veterans alike. To supplement this, the bill creates a greater level of transparency by requiring a study of the budget projections from the Government Accountability Office.

In a letter to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, the leaders of eleven veterans’ organizations succinctly captured the tremendous benefits from this legislation by saying, “advance appropriations will lead to sufficient, timely and predictable funding for veterans health care, while allowing Congress, the President, and VA to retain the discretion they currently have to set VA’s funding levels.  These votes will be among the most important for veterans and their families…this year.” 

The Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act (H.R. 1211) expands and improves health care services available to the 1.8 million women veterans—one of the fast growing subgroups of veterans.  These improvements will have an immediate impact on the well-being of women veterans especially those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan by including medical care for newborn children of women veterans, enhancement of VA sexual trauma programs, enhancement of PTSD treatment for women, the establishment of a pilot program for child care services, and the addition of recently separated women veterans to serve on advisory committees.