Delegation continues to fight for full-service, in-state health care for New Hampshire veterans
Washington - New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation today invited VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to tour local veterans facilities and to meet with the delegation in Washington, DC. In a letter to Secretary Shinseki, Senators Judd Gregg and Jeanne Shaheen, and Representatives Carol Shea-Porter and Paul Hodes called attention to the enormous burden New Hampshire veterans face because of the lack of access to full-service, in-state medical care.
“The New Hampshire delegation is united in our support of The Veterans Health Equity Act, legislation we have introduced in the House of Representatives and United States Senate,” wrote the delegation. “Our goal is to ensure that New Hampshire veterans can get the care they need and deserve in New Hampshire.”
Senator Gregg stated, “In recent years, significant improvements have been made to expand health care options for veterans in the Granite State, including last week’s decision to establish a new outreach center in Keene. While the number of veterans traveling long distances to receive care has been reduced, more can and should be done to help these men and women who have given so much to protect our country. I look forward to continuing to work with the entire delegation and state veterans organizations to ensure that New Hampshire veterans and their families receive accessible, quality medical care closer to their homes.”
“New Hampshire veterans are the only veterans in the nation that must travel across state lines to receive full medical services, and that is not acceptable,” said Senator Shaheen. “The men and women who have so bravely and selflessly served our country deserve better, and I’m very happy that our entire delegation is united in this bipartisan effort to correct this injustice. I hope that Secretary Shinseki will join us in New Hampshire to discuss the difficulties our veterans face, and I look forward to working together toward our shared goal of better serving New Hampshire’s veterans.”
“I wrote the Veterans Health Equity Act because no veteran should be forced to travel out of state in order to receive medical care,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “I want our government to honor our pledge to the men and women who serve. I look forward to working with Secretary Shinseki and the entire delegation to correct this inequity.”
“New Hampshire is the only state in the continental United States that does not have a full service Veterans Affairs Medical Center,” Congressman Paul Hodes said. “New Hampshire’s many veterans deserve the same access to health care services as veterans in other states across the country and I look forward to working with the new administration and our Congressional delegation to make this a reality.”
The full text of the letter is below:
The Honorable Eric Shinseki
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Dear Secretary Shinseki:
Congratulations on your recent confirmation by the United States Senate. We know that your wealth of experience and your deep compassion for your fellow veterans will serve the Department of Veterans Affairs and our nation’s veterans extremely well.
We write to bring to your attention a severe inequity facing New Hampshire’s veterans and to ask for your support of the ongoing efforts to correct it. New Hampshire’s veterans live in the only state without a full-service VA medical center or access to comparable services through a military installation. Every day our oldest and our sickest veterans are forced to travel out of state to receive their health care. More than 130,000 veterans live in New Hampshire, and this number is projected to grow over the next 10 years.
The New Hampshire delegation is united in our support of The Veterans Health Equity Act, legislation we have introduced in the House of Representatives and United States Senate. Our goal is to ensure that New Hampshire veterans can get the care they need and deserve in New Hampshire. Our legislation provides the Veterans Administration with flexibility to achieve this end. If it is not feasible for the Veterans Administration to construct a new full-service hospital in New Hampshire or restore full services at the VA medical center in Manchester, this legislation simply requires the Veterans Administration to contract for comparable in-state care.
New Hampshire’s veterans deserve the same services as veterans in every other state. We invite you to Manchester to hear from some of our local veterans and to tour our facilities so that you can hear about the burden this creates for them. Additionally, we invite you to meet with us in Washington, D.C. to further discuss issues facing New Hampshire’s veterans. We appreciate your consideration of this request; look forward to seeing you in New Hampshire, and working with you to correct this inequity.