Veterans

December 17, 2012

Senate moves bill covering fertility care for vets

Wounded veterans and their spouses who want to have children could get the government to pay for treatments such as in vitro fertilization under legislation beginning to move through Congress in the waning days of the session.

By voice vote, the Senate passed a bill Dec. 13 to update the Veterans Affairs Department’s medical coverage for one of the signature wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: trauma to a soldier’s reproductive organs.

Nearly 2,000 service members suffered such wounds between 2003 and 2011. But when wounded veterans went to the VA for medical help in starting a family, they were told the VA doesn’t provide that kind of care.

A similar bill is pending in the House. Supporters said the Senate’s action increases its chances of becoming law before Congress adjourns.

The chief sponsor, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said she has heard from veterans whose marriages have dissolved because of the stress of infertility, in combination with the stresses of readjusting to civilian life after severe injury.

“Any service member who sustains this type of serious injury deserves so much more,” she said.

With both chambers deadlocked on budget issues, even Murray was surprised the bill didn’t raise a single objection in the Senate. Any objection would have quashed it for the year.

As Murray spoke, Tracy Keil of Parker, Colo., watched from the gallery. Her husband, SSgt. Matt Keil, was paralyzed from the chest down after he was shot in the neck in Iraq. The Keils were able to afford the nearly $32,000 it cost for in vitro fertilization and now have 2-year-old twins, Matthew and Faith. But knowing that many families cannot afford that on their own, the Keils have been lobbying Congress to expand the VA’s coverage.

“It made us feel like we were back on track, that our marriage was where we wanted it to be and that our family was where we wanted it to be,” she said of having children. “Even though we had the injury disrupt the timeline of our expectations, it’s everything we’ve always dreamed of and it makes Matt feel whole again.”

“We wake up to the joys of our kids every day and I can’t picture my life without them now,” Matt Keil added in a telephone interview.

The legislation is estimated to cost $568 million over five years, to be covered through savings from scaling down military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Rep. Jeff Miller, the Republican chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said he’s anxious to pass the bill this Congress, but he has concerns that the legislation would take money away from troops still fighting in Afghanistan to pay for the new benefit, .

Matt McAlvanah, a spokesman for Murray, said any notion that the funding for fertility treatments would impact troops in the field is false.

Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., is spearheading efforts in the House to get the legislation passed.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph

AF holds 50th anniversary Vietnam War commemoration ceremony

Air Force photograph F-105 crews played a key role in Operation Rolling Thunder. During this three-year Vietnam War campaign, Air Force, Marine and Navy aircraft bombed targets throughout North Vietnam. U.S. and Australian wars...
 
 

Airmen missing from WWII accounted for

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Feb. 23, that the remains of U.S. servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been accounted for and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors. Army Air Forces 1st Lts. William D. Bernier of Augusta, Mont.; Bryant E. Poulsen of Salt Lake...
 
 

President signs Clay Hunt Act, says ‘Stigma has to end’

President Barack Obama Feb. 12 signed into law the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, or SAV Act. The act is aimed at reducing military and veteran suicides and improving their access to quality mental health care. Hunt was a decorated Marine veteran who struggled with post-traumatic stress. He deployed to Iraq and...
 

 

Survivor of USS Arizona from Pearl Harbor attack dies at 100

YUBA CITY, Calif. – The oldest living crew member of the battleship USS Arizona to have survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor has died in Northern California at the age of 100. Retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Langdell died Feb. 4 at a nursing home in Yuba City, according to his son, Ted Langdell....
 
 
Photograph by Diane Betzler

Edwards Airmen celebrate Super Bowl with local retired veterans

Photograph by Diane Betzler Life is good: Retired veterans and residents of the William J. “Pete” Knight Veterans’ Home enjoy watching the Super Bowl, eating a delicious steak dinner and swapping war stories with members ...
 
 

Reunions – February thru April, 2015

374th Field Maint Sqdn., PACAF Feb. 13-14; Biloxi, Miss. For more information, contact Larry Voss at (218) 410-2192 or email levs.22@hotmail.com. 11th Abn/Air Assault Div Mid-Atlantic Chapter, and 187th RCT Feb. 21-25; Myrtle Beach, S.C. For more information, contact Artie Heape at (843) 846-4693 or email artieheape@centurylink.net. Seabees in Ireland & Scotland, NMCB 62 Feb....
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>