Congressman Collin Peterson -- Minnesota's Seventh Congressional District
Press Release
November 10, 2005
CONTACT: Allison Myhre/218-847-5056

VALOR Act Would Allow Veterans Better Access to Health Care

By Congressman Collin Peterson


Although the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has one of the largest health care systems in our country, many eligible veterans are unable to use VA medical facilities due to driving distance, age or because they have to wait too long for an appointment. While we canít solve these problems overnight, veterans should have the ability to receive quality health care no matter where they live.

Recently, Congressman Latham of Iowa and I introduced the VALOR Act. This legislation will address the access problem that many rural veterans are experiencing by providing an option to receive medical care in their own communities.  While VA health care has made remarkable improvements in delivering quality health care to veterans, the fact remains that veterans have uneven access to these services.

The VALOR Act would expand the option that some veterans enrolled in the VA health care system have to receive care through non-VA facilities in their own communities. Covered serviced would include hospital care, medical services, rehab services, and preventative health services that a veteran would normally receive at a VA facility.  

This past summer, the Administration acknowledged funding problems in VA health care, and Congress quickly acted to restore $1.5 billion to make up for the egregious shortfall. This was a long delayed victory for Americaís veterans. Congress also made some strides by focusing on ending the Disabled Veteransí Tax, but I think we can do better.  

Each November 11th our country comes together to remember our veterans who have served and sacrificed in the name of freedom and liberty.  Sadly, as we reflect on Veterans Day, we again are engaged in hostilities, and young men and women will pay the ultimate price while wearing the uniform of the nation.    

More than 15,000 troops have been wounded in Iraq and many of them are permanently disabled. These men and women have tremendous needs and we must be there for them.  Let us support and pay tribute to our troops currently serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the globe. These troops have served our nation with honor and distinction and will become the veterans of tomorrow. A grateful nation must always honor that service.