Maui News

Bill Seeks Improved Health Access for Neighbor Isle Veterans

June 15, 2011, 12:24 PM HST
* Updated June 16, 5:55 AM
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By Wendy Osher

Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono discusses issues with Korean War veterans Joe Lopez and Thomas Tanaka during the Pacific American Foundation Roll Call of Honor in Remembrance Ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. May 29, 2011.

A bipartisan bill that seeks to provide $129.7 billion for veteran benefits, passed out of the U.S. House in an overwhelming 411 to 5 vote.

Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) was among those who voted in favor of H.R. 2055.

“I represent more than 50,000 veterans who live in the rural areas of our island state. Hawaii’s veterans have shared with me their difficulties in getting medical care, especially when treatment requires travel to Honolulu from the neighbor islands. This bill will provide $250 million to improve health care access for veterans in rural communities across the country,” said Congresswoman Hirono.

The Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act for FY 2012 includes funding for medical services, disability payments, pensions, survivors’ benefits, and education benefits to veterans.

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The bill includes two years of medical services funding, ensuring continued service for the four million veterans served by the VA health system through FY 2013.

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The measure also provides $11.5 billion for military construction across the country, which translates to a four percent increase over current levels.

H.R. 2055 now goes before the U.S. Senate for consideration.

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