Tester: Unpopular New Health Care Bill Eliminates Options for Montana Veterans

Senator Fights to Protect Veterans Tax Credits, Renews Call for Bipartisan Improvements to Current Health Care Law

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is fighting to protect critical tax credits that Montana veterans use to purchase quality health insurance.

Tester today slammed a provision in the House’s recently passed American Health Care Act that prohibits veterans who are eligible to use the VA, but who are not currently receiving VA health care, from getting a tax credit. Tester told his colleagues during a press conference that the American Health Care Act fails to uphold the promise made to American veterans. Tester expressed that the veterans who currently receive the tax credit would lose it under the unpopular health care bill passed last week by the U.S. House of Representatives.

“We have a promise to uphold to our veterans in this country,”
Tester said. “For those veterans who are not enrolled in the VA, and receive this tax credit, we are not even beginning to fulfill that promise because it takes that tax credit away. Our veterans deserve better.”

Seven million American veterans are eligible to receive health care at the VA, but have not enrolled in the VA. Current law provides an annual tax credit to many of these veterans to purchase private health insurance on the exchange.

Montana veterans often choose to purchase private insurance, rather than enroll in the VA, so they can see their local doctors because VA facilities are often too far away. Montana rural hospital and clinic administrators told Tester during his health care town halls that repealing the Affordable Care Act will increase uncompensated care and put their existence at-risk.

“Because this House bill throws millions of Americans off of health care, and rural America is no exception,”
Tester said. “It puts our rural hospitals at risk.”

Tester last week called on Republicans and Democrats to work together to improve the current health care law, and to make health care more accessible and affordable for all Montanans. Tester today renewed that call and urged Senate leaders to reject a bill that raises taxes for Montana veterans.

“This House bill is a poorly written piece of legislation,” Tester closed.

The American Health Care Act was passed last week by the House of Representatives and now awaits action in the Senate.