H.R. 1377: To amend title 38, United States Code, to expand veteran eligibility for reimbursement by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for emergency treatment furnished in a non-Department facility, and for other purposes

H.R. 1377

To amend title 38, United States Code, to expand veteran eligibility for reimbursement by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for emergency treatment furnished in a non-Department facility, and for other purposes

Date
March 30, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

H.R. 1377 is being considered on the floor under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. This legislation was introduced by Representative Bob Filner (D-CA) on March 6, 2009.

Bill Summary

H.R. 1377 would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to pay for emergency care that certain veterans receive at non-VA medical facilities or to reimburse veterans if they have paid for that care. Specifically, veterans with non-service-connected conditions whose third-party insurer does not cover the full cost of care would be reimbursed. The bill also permits the VA to reimburse veterans for emergency treatment that was provided prior to the date of enactment.

Background

Under current federal law, the Department of Veterans Affairs has the authority to reimburse certain veterans or pay for emergency treatment of a non-service connected condition if the VA is the payer of last resort. However, the VA currently does not pay for emergency treatment for non-service connected conditions in facilities outside the VA system if a veteran has third-party insurance that pays for any portion of the medical cost. H.R. 1377 would make these veterans eligible for reimbursements from the VA.

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 1377 would cost $5 million over five years, assuming appropriation of the estimated amounts.