Gordon, House vote to improve veterans benefits


WASHINGTON-With more than 500,000 veterans in Tennessee and 23 million living throughout the country, the U.S. House passed two measures yesterday to improve veterans benefits.

“Veterans have earned the best quality care and services,” said Congressman Bart Gordon, who strongly supported passage of both bills. “Once their time in uniform has ended, we owe it to them to ensure that they are not overwhelmed with excessive medical bill costs.”

The two measures that passed the House were related to health benefits afforded to veterans.  Under H.R. 1377, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would be required to pay for emergency medical services that veterans receive at non-VA facilities.  This bill would also require the VA to pay for the treatment of a medical condition unrelated to the veteran’s military service if a third-party insurer does not cover the full cost.

The other measure, H.R. 1513, would provide cost-of-living increases to disability benefits for veterans who have service-related disabilities. Currently, veteran disability benefits are not tied to cost-of-living increases – this situation has often resulted in veterans having to pay more money out-of-pocket for the same services that their benefits were supposed to fully cover.

“These are both common-sense measures that will reduce the financial burden that veterans face,” added Gordon.  “In these tough economic times, it is especially important we make certain that veterans, the heroes of our nation, don’t fall through the cracks.”

Both measures will now move to the U.S. Senate, where they are expected to be considered.