Obama signs Veterans' Emergency Care Act

Earlier this week, President Obama signed into law the Veterans’ Emergency Fairness Act of 2009. This important legislation amends existing statutes to allow the VA to reimburse eligible veterans for portions of emergency treatment that are not covered by their private insurance. Before this change in law, VA could only pay outside hospitals directly, or reimburse veterans in cases where they did not have private health insurance.

“Many veterans enrolled in VA health care have limited private health insurance, and this new legislation helps to correct previous inequities in the law, and helps to ensure that a trip to the emergency room doesn’t cause financial ruin for those who honorably and selflessly served this nation,” said American Legion National Commander Clarence Hill.

“The American Legion appreciates Congress recognizing the need for this legislation and the president for acting quickly to sign it into law,” said Hill.

This legislation, introduced by Senator Daniel Akaka, D- Hawaii, also allows VA to reimburse veterans retroactively for emergency care received before the bill’s passage.