Today, Congressmen Doug LaMalfa and Chris Pappas introduced new legislation to help cover the out-of-pocket expenses that veterans and their caregivers incur when traveling to receive medical care provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs. In response to high inflation, the Veterans Medical Mileage Adjustment Act of 2022 would increase the mileage reimbursement rate for the Beneficiary Travel Program for eligible veterans who have to travel more than 7 miles, or more than 14 miles round trip, for VA-related health care.
U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Jerry Moran, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, introduced companion legislation in the Senate earlier today. In addition, Congressman Rick Larsen has signed on to the legislation as an original co-sponsor in the House of Representatives.
“With gas prices in California up over $2 in the last few years, traveling is more expensive than ever,” LaMalfa said. “While some Californians try to make ends meet by cutting back on driving or other necessities, rural veterans seeking medical treatments have few options. They rely on hospitals and clinics located far from their home. We shouldn’t force our veterans to shoulder more and more of this cost because Washington has abandoned a reasonable energy policy. This legislation will increase the mileage reimbursement rate to protect our veterans from government-created inflation.”
“No one should struggle to access care because of the distance they must travel for an appointment or the cost of transportation,” said Pappas. “But veterans in New Hampshire, especially veterans who live in rural areas, often have to travel long distances to access VA health care services. This overdue increase in reimbursement rates for veterans traveling for VA health care would ensure that Granite State veterans are properly compensated for their travel costs, and I’ll keep fighting to protect access to community-based care that will reduce the travel burden shouldered by our veterans.”
“Travel to medical appointments is often a real burden, especially for veterans and caregivers who live a long distance from VA facilities,” said Larsen, a senior member of the Armed Services and Transportation and Infrastructure committees. “This bipartisan bill improves equity and public health by increasing reimbursement rates to ensure Washington veterans can access the medical care they need, regardless of where they live.”
“Inflation and rising costs have resulted in more and more veterans shouldering additional costs when traveling to receive health care provided by the VA,” said Moran. “Raising reimbursement rates will help keep the Beneficiary Travel Program relevant and make certain travel-related costs are not inhibiting our veterans from receiving the care they deserve.”
“For Montana veterans living in rural or remote areas, getting to a VA health care appointment can mean driving dozens of miles each way to their nearest facility,” said Tester. “Increasing the mileage reimbursement rate will ensure VA benefits are keeping pace with rising transportation costs, so veterans can continue accessing their earned care—no matter where they live.”
This legislation is endorsed by the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., Disabled American Veterans and the Wounded Warrior Project.