WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced legislation that would mandate the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reimburse veterans’ emergency health care expenses from non-VA facilities that are not covered by the veteran’s private insurance. This legislation follows the 2016 Staab v. McDonald and 2019 Wolfe v. Wilkie decisions, both ruling that the VA must reimburse veterans for emergency medical expenses. The Wolfe decision also found that more than 600,000 veterans may have been affected by the VA’s denial of these claims, with anywhere from $1.8 to $6.5 billion owed to veterans. The VA appealed this decision last month to avoid paying these claims.
“The last thing veterans should have to worry about during a health emergency is whether they will be stuck with the bill for their medical expenses,” said Brown. “Ohio veterans should not be shouldering the burden when they’ve earned benefits that should cover them.”
The legislation is endorsed by the National Veterans Legal Services Program and the Disabled American Veterans.
The full text of the Senate legislation can be found here.