Legislative Alert: Health Care Reform

On Aug. 24, 2009, The American Legion National Executive Committee adopted Resolution 1, The American Legion Policy on VA and National Health Care Reform, and Resolution 2, The American Legion Policy on DoD's Medical Health System and National Health Care Reform. The goal of these resolutions was to make sure that neither DoD's or VA's health-care delivery systems were adversely affected by legislation introduced and passed in each chamber.

Very early in the process, The American Legion received assurances from key congressional leaders and the president that nothing in the national health-care reform legislation would adversely affect either the DoD or VA health-care systems. Both the House and the Senate have passed their versions of national health-care reform legislation, and both bills span over 2,000 pages of legislative language. In a review of each bill, it appears neither DoD or VA health-care systems will be adversely affected; however, the current ongoing negotiations between House, Senate and the White House are being conducted in "closed sessions" with little to no detailed information being officially released or reported.

The American Legion will continue to closely monitor developments and keep The American Legion family informed as specifics are revealed. Clearly, changes to Medicare's reimbursement rates to participating health-care providers could possibly have an effect on TRICARE and TRICARE for Life beneficiaries. This is just one of the many provisions The American Legion has publicly expressed concerns over. Another concern deals with any requirement for mandatory public or private health-care insurance. Neither TRICARE or VA health care is an insurance provider, but rather a health-care provider. So The American Legion has publicly expressed its concerns with "cookie cutter" approaches in mandating health-care insurance coverage with the threat of fines or penalties for noncompliance. Both DoD and VA health care are earned benefits for honorable military service and the thanks of a grateful nation.In keeping with the constitutional intent of the democratic process, the voice of We, the people, remains absolutely critical in the representative form of government we enjoy; therefore, you are encouraged to ask your two senators and your representative specific questions you may have on the issue of national health-care reform as it relates to veterans, servicemembers and their families.Please feel free to share any responses you receive from your elected officials with The American Legion National Legislative Commission so we can follow up as necessary.Find your elected officials at the Legislative Action Center.