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Congressman gives update on bill

Sunday, July 19, 2009

To the Editor:

Indiana is home to more than half a million veterans.

Brave men and women who have stepped forward to protect the freedoms we all enjoy. The outstanding members of the United States Armed Forces from Indiana and throughout the country have repeatedly answered the call to serve our nation without hesitation, in times of war and peace alike. And we owe them a debt of gratitude for their service and sacrifice.

One of the ways we can begin to repay that debt is by providing our veterans with the quality health care they deserve.

That's why I was proud to support an historic increase in funding to cover veterans' medical care, hire additional claims processors to reduce delays and make improvements to Veterans Administration (VA) facilities.

Specifically, the bill provides $4.6 billion for mental health services for returning veterans coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental illness.

It also directs funds to address health care concerns that are specific to veterans living in rural areas.

In addition, for the first time ever, Congress provided $48.2 billion in advance to cover medical services for 2011. In previous years, funding for VA programs and services has been held up in Congress and affected the quality of care our veterans received.

This advance funding will ensure that veterans' access to quality care is not hindered by our disagreements in Washington.

While we can never fully repay our veterans for their service and sacrifice, I believe Congress must do everything it can to ensure they have the quality health care they deserve.

This bill does just that and I hope the Senate will pass it soon.

May God bless our veterans and continue to bless our great country.

If you or a veteran you know needs assistance in resolving an issue with the VA, please don't hesitate to contact me. My office can help 8th District veterans file claims, determine eligibility for coverage or learn about medical coverage policies at the VA. In addition, we can provide assistance in recovering service medals that were lost or never received.

Sincerely,

Brad Ellsworth,

Congressmen,

Indiana's 8th District