Wednesday, 04 August 2021

Committee advances Thompson’s bipartisan legislation to ensure health care for veterans

On Wednesday, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05), a senior member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, announced that the full committee has advanced his legislation to ensure health care coverage for wounded veterans, the Health Equity and Access for Returning Troops and Servicemembers (HEARTS) Act.

This bill corrects a flaw in our Medicare and TRICARE systems that imposes an undue financial penalty on wounded veterans who return to work.

“Currently many veterans injured in the line of duty who return to the workforce are forced to pay unnecessary Medicare premiums to retain the TRICARE coverage they have already earned. This is unacceptable,” said Thompson. “My bipartisan legislation that the committee advanced today would allow veterans who return to work to keep the health care coverage they have earned without unfair and unnecessary financial penalties. We must live up to our promise to provide for our men and women in uniform once they return from the battlefield.”

Wounded veterans who are eligible for TRICARE, the veterans’ health coverage program, are often also eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Medicare.

However, due to the way current law treats the interaction of TRICARE, SSDI, and Medicare, many medically retired veterans who return to work are forced to pay unnecessary Medicare premiums to retain the TRICARE coverage they have earned.

Thompson’s legislation was included in a larger package, H.R. 3429, the HEARTS and Rural Relief Act.

The bill also includes coverage for a prostate-specific diagnostic tool. You can click here to read more about this package, which has been favorably referred to the full House for consideration.

Thompson represents California’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties.

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