In-Depth: Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) introduced this bill to preserve crucial programs such as reimbursements and transportation allowances for highly-rural veterans:
“Our Veterans defended our country and earned these benefits. Our rural Veterans sometimes need to travel long distances to receive care and they shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill. Washington needs to do right by all of our Veterans and make sure there is no interruption in services for them or their families.”
This legislation has one cosponsor, Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL).
Of Note: The VA’s Office of Rural Health reports that there are 4.7 million rural veterans in the U.S., accounting for nearly a quarter of all veterans in the country. The Office of Rural Health notes that while veterans may choose rural communities for a number of reasons, such as proximity to family and a lower cost of living, there are some rural healthcare challenges that are intensified for veterans with combat-related injuries and illnesses.
Among these challenges, the Office of Rural Health notes, are higher poverty rates, more elderly residents, poorer overall resident health, fewer practicing physicians, hospitals, and health delivery resources. The Office of Rural Health notes that, just like many other rural residents, rural veterans and their caregivers may have trouble accessing health care and other services due to numerous structural challenges, including hospital closing due to financial instability, fewer employment and transportation options, and geographic and distance barriers.
Currently, the VA allocates 32% of its healthcare budget to rural veteran care.
Summary by Lorelei Yang
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Pekic)