Press Release

Sue Kelly

19th Congressional District of New York


Kelly Bill Allows Veterans to Use Medicare at Local VA Hospitals

Legislation Seeks to Ease Burden of Health Care Costs on Veterans

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, May 22, 2002) - Hudson Valley veterans would be able to use Medicare to help pay their bills at local veterans hospitals under legislation introduced today by U.S. Rep. Sue Kelly.

“Veterans hospitals specialize in treating veterans,” said Kelly. “Veterans should be eligible for the same Medicare benefits at a VA hospital as they would any other hospital. The federal government should do everything possible to ease the financial burden on veterans by providing Medicare benefits at VA hospitals.”

Kelly’s bill, the Veterans Medicare Reimbursement Act of 2002, would allow VA hospitals to bill Medicare for services they provide to veterans. 
 Currently, Medicare-eligible veterans cannot use Medicare at local VA hospitals. They are instead forced to choose between receiving medical care at a VA hospital without the ability to use Medicare to aid with their payments, or use Medicare at a non-VA hospital and lose the benefits of receiving care at a VA hospital.

“Veterans shouldn’t be forced to choose between hospitals based on whether the hospital accepts Medicare or not,” said Kelly. “Veterans should have every health care option available to them.”

The Veterans Medicare Reimbursement Act of 2002 has been endorsed by the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association.

E. Benjamin Nelson
U.S. Senator For Nebraska

May 1, 2002


Bill # S. 2233

WASHINGTON, DC - Nebraska's Senator Ben Nelson is supporting a bill that will provide health coverage through Medicare to eligible veterans. The bill, S. 2233, the Medicare Equity Act for Veterans, would allow the Department of Veterans' Affairs to bill Medicare for health care services provided to Medicare-eligible veterans who receive care in VA medical centers. S. 2233 would authorize a three year pilot program in 10 VA centers.

"Many veterans have been contributing to Medicare throughout their adult lives, yet Medicare will not pay for care obtained through a veterans' hospital," said Nelson. "This legislation is an important step in ensuring that all Medicare-eligible veterans receive the benefits they are entitled to."

Under current law, the Department of Health and Human Services cannot reimburse the VA for health care services. Many veterans who are eligible for benefits under both Medicare and the VA seek care in VA facilities because of the low co-payment for prescription drugs. Because the VA has limited resources, this influx of new patients results in long waiting times for care. The VA has considered limiting enrollment eligibility to conserve resources.

S. 2233 would prevent limiting enrollment by providing more resources to the VA through Medicare. The reimbursement would improve access to care for veterans because it would allow them to be reimbursed for expenses that Medicare would normally incur. The legislation caps Medicare payments to the VA at $75 million annually. The General Accounting Office (GAO) would issue a report evaluating the program after the three-year demonstration period. The VA would have the authority to continue billing Medicare following the report.

"The VA has been shouldering the burden of care for veterans who should be covered by Medicare," said Nelson. "This program will relieve some of that burden from the VA and ensure that all veterans continue to have choices in Medicare care and to receive the care they have earned."


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