FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 17, 2015
WASHINGTON – Congressman John Kline and Senator Amy Klobuchar are introducing bipartisan legislation today that would protect veterans from erroneous and untimely billing practices by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The legislation would give the VA flexibility to waive co-payment requirements for veterans if the VA erred by sending bills in an untimely manner.
Kline and Klobuchar’s legislation is in response to frustration and confusion caused by the VA when it billed Minnesota and Wisconsin veterans this summer for health care received up to five years ago. The bill will hold the VA accountable, reform bureaucracy, and restore faith to our veterans that they will receive the care they were promised without getting stuck with unexpected and unbudgeted bills.
“We have a moral obligation to keep faith with America’s heroes and our veterans deserve the quality health care they were promised,” said Kline, a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps whose wife is a retired Army nurse and son has served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I will continue to fight for increased transparency and accountability at VA facilities across the country to ensure promises made are promises kept.”
“I’ve always believed that when we ask our young men and women to defend and fight for our country, we make a solemn promise to take care of them when they return home,” said Klobuchar. “The Minnesota and Wisconsin veterans who sought care at the VA in good faith should not be saddled with unplanned bills that stretch back years. I am proud to lead this bipartisan effort with Congressman Kline to give our veterans the peace of mind and relief they deserve.”
The legislation would:
Give the Secretary of Veterans Affairs the authority to waive a co-payment requirement if the VA erred in not sending out the bill in a timely manner; and
Require the VA to inform veterans of their rights to payment plans and waivers if the VA does not meet billing timelines based on the veteran’s mode of care.
Klobuchar has been a strong advocate for our nation’s veterans and has worked hard to make sure that we provide our veterans with the full benefits and support they have earned. Kline is a 2015 recipient of the Charles Dick Medal of Merit from the National Guard Association of the United States for his loyalty and commitment to the men and women of the National Guard.
# # #
Yesterday, Congressman John Kline introduced H.R. 3549 – VA Billing Accountability Act. H.R. 3549 provides the Secretary of the VA the authority to waive the requirement a veteran make a co-payment if a VA error is the cause of a delay in notifying a veteran of a requirement to pay for services. Additionally, the bill mandates that VA provide information on payment plans and waivers if they don’t get bills out in a timely manner based on the mode of care. More information is pasted below.
Since we last spoke, the issue continued to be widely covered in Minnesota.
Star Tribune Editorial: Congress needs to ensure that VA billing error doesn’t burden vets
Please join me in sharing this legislation (linked in the press release) with members of your community and organization. If you have any questions, or wish to lend your organization’s support, please contact me directly. I look forward to working with you.
Senior Legislative Assistant
Congressman John Kline (Minnesota -2nd District)