Sen. Moran introduces legislation to ease travel costs for veteran health care

FILE - Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
FILE - Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 2:45 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Senator Jerry Moran has introduced legislation to help ease the burden of travel costs for veteran health care.

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) says he and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced legislation on Wednesday, Sept. 14, to increase reimbursement rates for veterans who are required to travel to get medical care provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs. He said U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) will introduce companion legislation in the House.

“Inflation and rising costs have resulted in more and more veterans shouldering additional costs when traveling to receive health care provided by the VA,” said Sen. Moran. “Raising reimbursement rates will help keep the Beneficiary Travel Program relevant and make certain travel-related costs are not inhibiting our veterans from receiving the care they deserve.”

In response to high inflation, Moran said the Veterans Medical Mileage Adjustment Act of 2022 would increase the reimbursement rate for the Beneficiary Travel Program for eligible veterans who are required to travel more than 7 miles for VA-related health care.

“For Montana veterans living in rural or remote areas, getting to a VA health care appointment can mean driving dozens of miles each way to their nearest facility,” said Tester. “Increasing the mileage reimbursement rate will ensure VA benefits are keeping pace with rising transportation costs, so veterans can continue accessing their earned care—no matter where they live.”

Moran said the legislation also has the support of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., Disabled American Veterans and the Wounded Warrior Project.

“With gas prices in California up over two dollars in the last few years, traveling is more expensive than ever,” said Congressman LaMalfa. “While some Californians try to make ends meet by cutting back on driving or other necessities, rural veterans seeking medical treatments have few options. They rely on hospitals and clinics located far from their home. We shouldn’t force our veterans to shoulder more and more of this cost because Washington has abandoned a reasonable energy policy. This legislation will increase the mileage reimbursement rate to protect our veterans from government-created inflation.”

Moran indicated that the legislation would increase the VA mileage reimbursement rate from $0.415 to $0.455 per mile. It will also help cover out-of-pocket costs for veterans and caregivers when scheduled health care of medical disability examinations require them to travel more than 7 miles - or more than 14 miles round trip.

Additionally, Moran said the legislation would incorporate the findings of the annual Internal Revenue Service study on transportation costs showing an increase in fuel, insurance, maintenance, depreciation and other costs to lessen the burden on veterans and caregivers. It will also apply the increase to any veteran or caregiver currently eligible for the Beneficiary Travel reimbursement benefit for travel that occurs after the enactment of the Veterans Medical Mileage Adjustment Act of 2022.