Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass the Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act (H.R. 239), legislation which would provide women veterans access to the same no-cost contraceptive care as their non-veteran counterparts.
“Almost two hundred Republicans – mostly men – just killed legislation that would have provided almost two million of our nation’s women veterans with the same healthcare our servicewomen and civilian women already have access to. To make matters worse, my colleagues voted against legislation that most of them wholeheartedly supported just over a year ago,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “The House will pass this bill, but it’s extremely unfortunate that our women veterans are being treated as second-class citizens by my Republican colleagues. It should go without saying that women veterans have earned and deserve equal access to healthcare, and I’ll continue to work on this issue until they do.”
Women veterans now make up the fastest growing group of veterans enrolling in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care. Yet, many of their health needs go unaddressed in a VA system that has not evolved to equitably serve a changing population. This includes accessing basic contraceptive services without a co-pay. Under the Affordable Care Act, all women using civilian health insurance may access basic contraceptive services without a co-pay. Active duty servicemembers also have access to contraception without co-pays through TRICARE. Unfortunately, women veterans using VA healthcare are currently denied this access. The benefits of contraception are widely recognized and eliminating cost-sharing barriers can greatly improve access to the full-range of contraception and related counseling that improves women’s health.
This Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act is endorsed by the following Veterans Service Organizations: Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Minority Veterans of America (MVA), Modern Military Association of America (MMAA), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Wounded Warrior Project (WWP).
Read the full text of the bill, here.