04.03.09

Burr Amendment to Prevent Third-Party Billing

Amendment would change the budget rules to prevent charging Veteran’s private insurance for service-related care

Yesterday, the Senate adopted an amendment by U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to the budget resolution that would prohibit legislation authorizing the Department of Veterans Affairs to bill insurance for the care it provides to veterans for service-related injuries or diseases.

"The VA was created to care for those who have fought and sacrificed for our country," Burr said. "Our veterans have more than earned their care, and it is our duty to uphold this sacred promise."

Earlier this year, the President considered a policy to charge veterans' private insurance for service-related care in an attempt to address budgetary concerns. This policy has been criticized by veterans' service organizations and lawmakers alike for contradicting the VA's purpose and mission "to care for him who shall have borne the battle."

By establishing a "budget point of order" against such legislation, Senator Burr's amendment ensures that any legislation directing VA to bill a veteran's private insurance for service-related care would require a higher threshold for consideration in the Senate. This amendment is supported by Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Paralyzed Veterans of America.

"The Department of Veterans Affairs was created to care for the wounds of those sent to defend our country," Burr added. "When those men and women return home with wounds of war, their medical expenses should be paid for by the same government who sent them in harm's way."