Shea-Porter DoD, VA, Veterans Interest Groups Confirm Health Care Reform Legislation Protects TRICARE

WASHINGTON, DC  — Today, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter said that she commends the efforts of leading government authorities and veterans organizations to correct misinformation regarding the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) and the Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872) on TRICARE benefits. On March 20, 2010, the House of Representatives passed the TRICARE Affirmation Act (H.R. 4887), which  explicitly states that TRICARE and the Non-Appropriated Fund health plans satisfy all of the requirements for individual health insurance currently under consideration by Congress. This guarantees that those insured under TRICARE would not have to purchase additional insurance.  The TRICARE Affirmation Act passed by a vote of 403 to 0.  Shea-Porter, an original cosponsor of the legislation, spoke on the House floor and stated that TRICARE benefits “will remain as they are.” 

“As a former military spouse and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I remain committed to ensuring that our veterans and service members receive quality health care under TRICARE,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “The health care reform bill President Obama signed into law upholds this commitment. I am glad to see that leading government authorities and veterans organizations are working to make sure that our veterans receive accurate information about TRICARE.”

Here is what others are saying:

Joint Letter from House Committees: “The House Democratic leadership asked our committees to review H.R. 3590 and H.R. 4872 to assess the impact of the bills on the health care provided by the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Our reviews of HR 3590 and HR 4872 lead us to believe that the intent of the bills was never to undermine or change the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs operation of their health care programs or interfere with the care that our service members receive under TRICARE.”

Statement from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates: Secretary Gates reassured service members and their families that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) and the Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872) will not negatively impact TRICARE.  Gates stated that, “the health and well-being of America’s men and women in uniform is my highest priority.  Our troops and their families can be re-assured that the health care reform legislation passed by the Congress will not negatively impact the TRICARE medical insurance program, as it already meets the bill’s quality and minimum benefit standards.”

Statement from VA Secretary Shinseki: “Fears that Veterans health care and TRICARE will be undermined by the health reform legislation are unfounded.  I am confident that the legislation being voted on today will provide the protections afforded our nation’s Veterans and the health care they have earned through their service.”

Statement from Tammy Duckworth, Assistant VA Secretary: “I personally receive my world class healthcare from the VA and as a dependent on my husband's TRICARE eligibility. This bill is good for our nation and our Veterans and Service Members and their families can be reassured that their benefits are safe.” 

Statement from Clarence E. Hill, The American Legion National Commander: “I have been assured personally by the President, Secretary of Defense, VA Secretary, Speaker of the House, Majority Leaders, and numerous other Senators and Representatives – as has National Commander David Rehbein before me – that nothing in the national health care reform legislation will change current DoD and VA health care eligibility or practices…I am 100 percent confident that Congress will act responsibly as regards the nation’s veterans and their families.”

Statement from John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA):  “It is unfortunate that some continue to raise what is now is even more clearly a false alarm that is apparently meant to frighten veterans and their families in order to prompt them to oppose the pending legislation. While there is legitimate debate as to whether or not the pending health care measures should become law, VVA does not appreciate spreading rumors that are not accurate by any political partisan from any point of the political spectrum."