Filner thanks Legion for promoting VA health-care legislation

U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., says that high-quality health care for veterans is at the top of his list of priorities. The chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs spoke to leaders of The American Legion at its Washington, D.C., headquarters during a Veterans Planning and Coordinating Committee meeting.

Filner thanked National Commander David K. Rehbein and the Legion for aggressively promoting new legislation that will provide VA funding one year in advance. Long sought by the Legion, such funding will help assure timely delivery of VA health-care and other services.

Filner also congratulated recently appointed Washington office Executive Director Peter Gaytan on his promotion, and offered a tribute to retiring Executive Director John Sommer for his three-plus decades of service to the Legion. “But basically, I am here to gather information, not impart it,” he said.

Filner said he was unsure of the ultimate fate of hotly debated health-care reform legislation. “It changes every day, so I don’t want to waste my time speculating about it,” he said. He listened to Legion proposals to allow VA to bill Medicare for treatment of veterans with non-service connected health issues, and provide VA health-care to military family members. “Now might be a very good time to reintroduce these ideas,” Filner said.

The congressman concluded his visit by announcing committee passage of H.R. 3155, the Caregiver Assistance and Resource Enhancement Act. This legislation would provide “certain caregivers of veterans with training, support and medical care.” It is designed to assist primary caregivers of veterans who require continuous, in-home care and provide stipends for those who have given up their jobs to care for veterans. PHOTO CUTLINE:Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, thanked the leadership of The American Legion for aggressively promoting advance appropriations for the Department of Veterans Affairs.