(U.S. Senate) – Following efforts from U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that more than 1.2 million veterans across the country received health care copayments and medical billing relief during the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of the American Rescue Plan.
“I’m proud to have fought for funding in the American Rescue Plan to help more than a million veterans during this pandemic without going into debt on their medical bills,” said Tester. “This package waived copayments and debt collection for folks burdened by health care costs, helping ensure those who swore an oath to protect our country received the critical support they needed to get through tough times.”
The only member of the Montana delegation to support the American Rescue Plan, Tester secured $1 billion in the package to deliver VA health care copayment relief by waiving medical debts and billing during the pandemic. This funding provided critical support to veterans and families through the end of fiscal year 2021.
In addition to copayment relief, Tester fought tirelessly to secure billions in the American Rescue Plan to provide health care services and related support to eligible veterans, such as COVID-19 vaccine distribution, expanded mental health care, enhanced telehealth capabilities, extended support for veterans who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, and personal protective equipment and supplies for clinical employees. American Rescue Plan funds were critical in meeting veterans’ health care needs during the pandemic and continue to be, as VA provides more complex care to veterans and the reliance on VA grows due to economic impacts from the pandemic.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Senator has successfully delivered nearly $20 billion as a part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and $60 million in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to strengthen VA’s response to combatting the national health crisis.