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house Bill H.R. 4285

Should VA Programs Helping Rural Vets Be Extended?

Argument in favor

Rural veterans face a number of unique challenges in terms of accessing healthcare and housing programs that the VA needs the budget to address. This bill would ensure that existing VA funds for these priorities remain available for veterans and their families in the near term.

jimK's Opinion
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09/18/2019
What kind of country are we if we don't at least provide adequate care for our veterans- no matter wherever they reside in our vast Country. Support!
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Nancy's Opinion
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09/17/2019
Of course it should be extended! All veterans should get the help they need, all veterans everyone. Unless you live in a major city, the veterans don’t get the services they need and deserve. The veterans in my town have to go 50 - 100 miles if they need a doctor. That is unacceptable!
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SneakyPete's Opinion
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09/18/2019
Rural veterans face a number of unique challenges in terms of accessing healthcare and housing programs that the VA needs the budget to address. This bill would ensure that existing VA funds for these priorities remain available for veterans and their families in the near term. SneakyPete..... 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻. 9.18.19.....
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Argument opposed

The VA is already spending nearly a third of its budget on rural veterans’ healthcare — this figure is disproportionate to the share of veterans in rural areas (under a quarter of the national population), and should be reduced in order to distribute resources evenly among veterans across the country.

NoHedges's Opinion
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09/18/2019
I would like it more if rural outreach programs and services were expanded in rural areas which are also considered “distressed communities.” Yes, vets have earned this right but so have many others. Teachers, firefighters, your local pharmacist do they deserve less? Does the Constitution put a price tag on being deserving of basic support services? Whenever we use people/profession focused identity politics we run the risk of further eroding the common ground and unity this country so desperately needs and the people veterans have fought and died for.
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Brian's Opinion
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09/18/2019
I support Veterans and their healthcare, but if we're spending a disproportionate amount of the VA budget on a low population of veterans in rural areas then how is this fiscally responsible? We need a new plan for providing high quality healthcare to all rural Americans, not just Veterans, and we should include veterans in that plan. Rural hospitals are closing left and right and it's not going to get better with our current healthcare structure. Let's temporarily extend benefits for rural vets while we implement a new plan for American healthcare that will provide high quality care for all Americans in all areas, no matter their work history.
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Julie's Opinion
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09/18/2019
If there’s already a disproportionate amount going to rural veterans to start then the answer should not be to receive more money and fix the problem after. The answer should start with gathering better planners and implementing incremental changes to help what’s wrong throughout the VA budgeting system in smaller bites that can therefore look out for the veterans across all of the country in the long run.
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What is House Bill H.R. 4285?

This bill — the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2019 — would extend certain VA programs for rural veterans. Specifically , it would extend financial assistance for supportive services for very low-income veteran families in permanent housing for two years (at a total cost of $380 million) and three other VA authorities for one year. 

The three VA authorities this bill would extend for a year are: 

  • VA’s authority to temporarily expand payments and allowances for beneficiary travel in connection with Veterans receiving care from vet centers; 
  • VA’s authority relating to vendee loans; and
  • VA’s authority to operate a regional office in the Philippines.

Impact

Rural veterans; VA services for rural veterans; and the VA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4285

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. 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 NoteThe 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.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Pekic)

AKA

Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2019

Official Title

To amend title 38, United States Code, to extend and modify certain authorities and requirements relating to the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • EnactedSeptember 30th, 2019
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate Passed September 23rd, 2019
    Passed by Voice Vote
  • The house Passed September 18th, 2019
    Roll Call Vote 417 Yea / 1 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedSeptember 11th, 2019

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    What kind of country are we if we don't at least provide adequate care for our veterans- no matter wherever they reside in our vast Country. Support!
    Like (69)
    Follow
    Share
    I would like it more if rural outreach programs and services were expanded in rural areas which are also considered “distressed communities.” Yes, vets have earned this right but so have many others. Teachers, firefighters, your local pharmacist do they deserve less? Does the Constitution put a price tag on being deserving of basic support services? Whenever we use people/profession focused identity politics we run the risk of further eroding the common ground and unity this country so desperately needs and the people veterans have fought and died for.
    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
    Of course it should be extended! All veterans should get the help they need, all veterans everyone. Unless you live in a major city, the veterans don’t get the services they need and deserve. The veterans in my town have to go 50 - 100 miles if they need a doctor. That is unacceptable!
    Like (55)
    Follow
    Share
    Rural veterans face a number of unique challenges in terms of accessing healthcare and housing programs that the VA needs the budget to address. This bill would ensure that existing VA funds for these priorities remain available for veterans and their families in the near term. SneakyPete..... 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻. 9.18.19.....
    Like (30)
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    As a veteran myself, I support our vets. We should all agree on this.
    Like (28)
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    I support Veterans and their healthcare, but if we're spending a disproportionate amount of the VA budget on a low population of veterans in rural areas then how is this fiscally responsible? We need a new plan for providing high quality healthcare to all rural Americans, not just Veterans, and we should include veterans in that plan. Rural hospitals are closing left and right and it's not going to get better with our current healthcare structure. Let's temporarily extend benefits for rural vets while we implement a new plan for American healthcare that will provide high quality care for all Americans in all areas, no matter their work history.
    Like (10)
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    Why is this even an issue?!
    Like (9)
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    We claim that we're grateful for their service, and then -- this. Shame on America. It's our responsibility to elect someone who will take care of our veterans, not abandon them because they live in inconvenient places.
    Like (8)
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    Anything that helps We the People legally, shall be passed!
    Like (8)
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    With out our VETERANS we have no Country. We would have and would be swept away by other countries. Even though the LEFTISTS in this country are destroying America from within. Ok. Please try and deny that you are not trying to change our country and our lives. You know who you are. And yes you ALL are DESPICABLE.
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    Support for ALL VETERANS should be a given!! Last I checked! They're the ones putting life and limb on the line and in harm's way for the country!!!!
    Like (7)
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    Yes! All veterans deserve the utmost respect and care period!
    Like (7)
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    Without question you should absolutely continue to fund these programs for veterans!
    Like (6)
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    Heck yes the biggest part of our veterans come from rural areas. But the card you sent us was so if we did not have a clinic or hospital close we could use the card to see if a doctor would except it.
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    Any program helping those who have served our country honorably should be extended and fully funded. Yank some of that stupid border wall money to pay for it.
    Like (6)
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    We're taking care of foreign countries and supplying them with all kinds of medical needs food needs and everything. They burn our flag, try to take advantage of us, and only want us to take care of them so why would we not take care of our veterans shut the aid off to these countries and bring it home like it should be... We owe everything to the veterans we owe nothing to those foreign countries.
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    How about all vets regardless of whether they live in rural or urban areas.
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    What kind of country is America when we give Billion $ tax cuts to the wealthy and the corporations, yet force our Veterans to beg for food and sleep on the streets.
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    They served our country and we need to serve them.
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    Rural veterans face a number of unique challenges in terms of accessing healthcare and housing programs that the VA needs the budget to address. This bill would ensure that existing VA funds for these priorities remain available for veterans and their families in the near term.
    Like (4)
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