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11 Charles Street, , Penacook, New Hampshire

American Legion Post 31, Inc.

Veterans Health Care in Jeopardy

Decisive Action by House and Senate Leadership Needed

 

(May 17, 2013) The American Legion is imploring Congress to take decisive action to resolve a growing veterans’ health care access problem harming more than 340,000 veterans in 22 states.

Congress has worked to improve local medical access for veterans by authorizing and supporting more than 800 community-based clinics through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) since the 1990s. These are important facilities for the convenient, cost-effective primary care for millions of veterans.

Unfortunately a sudden policy shift by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has put the future Congressional authorization of more than 38 VA leases for major medical facilities on an indefinite hold.

This unexpected challenge won’t resolve itself absent a decision from House and Senate leadership on whether Congress will continue to authorize new construction of local VA community-based outpatient clinics and other needed facilities. Without decisive action by House and Senate Leadership, the VA warns existing leases will expire, clinics will close, and costs will increase as veterans travel further and wait longer for needed treatment.

Without an explicit decision on the fate of these promised clinics, the VA cannot adequately plan to meet the unique needs of veterans. Committee leaders with jurisdiction over the VA have pledged to solve this problem but the decision on Congressional budget rules falls on top leadership.

In these times of partisan strife, it's encouraging that Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (LA) and Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany (LA) are working together to issue a bipartisan, bicameral letter to House and Senate leadership requesting immediate action from both chambers of Congress to help retain and expand VA clinics around the nation. We need lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to sign on to the letter to send a strong message to leadership.

Please send the prepared message below and tell Congress to set aside political differences and take decisive action to resolve this matter which will affect services to veterans in states across the country. Providing quality, timely and accessible health care should not be a partisan issue. We all can agree that veterans, from World War II vets to recently discharged veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan or on the home front, should get the medical services they need and deserve.

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