Following Tester Efforts, VA Moves to Deliver Copayment Relief to Native American Veterans
VA proposes rule to waive copayments for Native veterans; Chairman Tester holds VA accountable in implementing his law
Following sustained efforts from U.S. Senator Jon Tester, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today proposed a rule in the Federal Register to waive copayments incurred on or after January 5, 2022 for certain care received by American Indian and Alaska Native veterans. If finalized, the rule will allow Native veterans to receive their earned copayment relief as directed by a law Tester championed in 2021.
“I’m encouraged to see VA answering my call to implement the law and remove burdensome copayments for Native veterans accessing their earned health care,” said Tester. “The fact is Native veterans have bravely answered the call to duty for generations. And I’ll continue to hold VA accountable in delivering these veterans their long-overdue support.”
Last Congress, Tester led his Committee colleagues in successfully securing a law to eliminate copayments for Native veterans accessing VA health care as part of a comprehensive end-of-year bill. At a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing, Tester recently urged VA officials to quickly implement this law, and to consider making veteran copayment benefits retroactive to January 2022, in line with Congressional intent.
A staunch advocate of supporting Native American veterans, Tester fought to secure his American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans Mental Health Act as part of the an omnibus federal funding package last month to deliver tailored outreach and culturally competent mental health care to Native veterans. He is also continuing his push this year to pass his Native American Direct Loan Improvement Act to help Native American veterans achieve homeownership.