May 20, 2021

Duckworth, Collins, Underwood Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Make Preventive Healthcare More Affordable for Veterans


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) re-introduced bipartisan legislation to make healthcare more affordable for America’s Veterans. Their Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act would stop forcing our nation’s Veterans to pay out-of-pocket costs for essential preventive health medications and prescription drugs—such as vitamin supplements, certain breast cancer prevention medicines, tobacco cessation products and aspiring—and add preventive medications and services to the list of no-fee treatments that VA covers. Under current law, Veterans are forced to pay co-pays for preventive healthcare services that servicemembers, military retirees and civilians with private insurance plans receive for free. Companion legislation was also introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Representatives Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY-01).

“All Americans deserve access to the best healthcare possible—especially the Veterans who risked life and limb to defend our nation and made significant sacrifices on our behalf,” said Duckworth. “This common-sense bipartisan legislation that I’m introducing today with Senator Collins and Representative Underwood would ensure we’re no longer asking Veterans to pay more for essential health services than every other insured American, while saving taxpayer dollars in the process.”

“We owe it to our veterans to provide them with the high-quality health care they have earned through their service to our country,” said Collins. “By removing the copayment requirement for preventive health care, our legislation would protect patients from experiencing serious illnesses that are costly to treat and promote the health and well-being of our veterans.” 

“It is unconscionable that veterans who have served our country bear financial burdens that military retirees, federal employees, and most civilians do not have to worry about. The Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act makes preventive health services like cancer screenings, immunizations, and well-woman visits more affordable for veterans by eliminating copays, just like most private insurance plans,” said Underwood. “I’m pleased to introduce this bipartisan bill with Senator Duckworth, Senator Collins, and Representatives Zeldin and Gonzalez to lower health care costs for veterans and ensure that our nation’s heroes can access the health services they need.”  

Specifically, the Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act would:

  • Add preventative medications and services to the list of no-fee treatments the VA covers
  • Eliminate Veteran co-pays for preventative health medications and services
  • Align prescription copayment standards for Veterans with private industry and military-retiree standards

This February, Duckworth, Collins and Underwood also re-introduced bipartisan legislation that would make sure that Veterans who receive healthcare from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) are not liable for out-of-pocket costs for qualifying coronavirus preventive services.

The legislation is endorsed by Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Women Veterans Interactive and the National Women’s Law Center.