Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that on July 27, 2009, the House passed by voice vote, legislation to make certain improvements in the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs relating to insurance and health care and other purposes. This bill, H.R. 3219 would, among other things provide for improvements to the free Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) programs.
“I want to commend the gentleman from California, my colleague, the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Mr. Bob Filner, for his leadership on this important issue. Among other things, H.R. 3219 would make permanent the two-year extension of the free Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance coverage period for totally disabled veterans following separation from active or reserve duty, enable veterans insured under the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance program to increase the amount of their coverage, and eliminate the reduction in the amount of accelerated death benefits for terminally-ill persons insured under both the SGLI and VGLI programs,” Faleomavaega said.
“Such improvements to the SGLI and VGLI programs would maximize the opportunity for totally disabled veterans, especially those who have no commercial insurance, the chance to obtain insurance coverage for their medical expenses. In this time of economic hardship, this bill would provide tremendous financial help and security for our veterans and their families,” Faleomavaega added.
“Moreover, this bill would expand existing health care programs to include veterans that were not otherwise qualified. For example, this bill would provide for the enhanced treatment authority for veterans of the Vietnam era, and veterans of the Gulf War who may have been exposed to Agent Orange, herbicides known to contain dioxin, which has been linked to cancer and other disorders. While the full impact of these herbicides remain unknown, veterans affected have shown symptoms including persistent memory and concentration problems, chronic headaches, widespread pain, gastrointestinal problems, and other chronic abnormalities not explained by well-established diagnoses,” Faleomavaega explained.
“As a Vietnam veteran myself, and a proud member of the 100th Battalion 442nd Infantry Reserve Unit, I certainly appreciate the service and sacrifice of my fellow servicemen in the United States Armed Forces. I will continue to follow this bill closely as it is now being considered by the Senate,” Faleomavaega concluded.