News Releases

A longtime champion for veterans, servicemembers, and their families, Senator Murray originally proposed the VA Newborn Emergency Treatment Act to ensure that VA fulfills its duty to pay for medically-necessary emergency transportation for newborns of veterans 

Senator Murray’s legislation was included as a provision in a larger bill aimed at addressing health care issues of women veterans 

Senator Murray: “At the end of the day, it is Congress’ job to make sure we’re doing right by our veteran moms and military families” 

ICYMI—from May 2019: Senator Murray Continues to Fight for Veterans and their Families, Urges Support for Bill to Reduce Medical Costs for Veterans with Newborns – MORE HERE 

***WATCH SENATOR MURRAY’S OPENING STATEMENT HERE***

(Washington, D.C.) – Yesterday, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee unanimously approved U.S. Senator Patty Murray’s (D-WA) VA Newborn Emergency Treatment Act (VANET) in a committee hearing, setting it up for a vote by the full U.S. Senate. The legislation was included as a provision of legislation that passed the committee, S. 3182, the Helping Expand and Launch Transitional Health for Women Veterans Act (HEALTH Act).  A longtime advocate for veterans and their families, and a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Senator Murray proposed the legislation after hearing stories from veterans that VA refused to pay the cost of transporting veterans’ infants in some emergency situations—despite the fact that VA is supposed to cover these costs—and leaving veterans to foot the expensive bill. To address this, Senator Murray’s provision would clarify existing law by requiring VA to both cover the upfront costs for medically-necessary emergency transportation for newborns of veterans and reimburse veterans who were inappropriately forced to pay those costs out-of-pocket.

“We make a promise as a nation to take care of our veterans, and to veteran mothers navigating the critical first moments after giving birth, that means making sure they know that their country will have their backs to help them get the care they need for their newborn—without burdening them with outrageous extra costs the federal government is obligated to pay,” Senator Murray said. “I’m glad we’ve taken this step to help provide some peace of mind to new veteran moms and their babies dealing with an emergency situation. It’s the least we can do for their courageous service, and I will continue fighting to pass this provision into law.”

In 2008, Senator Murray introduced S. 2799, the Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act of 2008 which authorized VA to provide care for newborn babies born to women veterans, including covering the costs of transportation for the veteran and newborn during medical emergencies. However, after hearing multiple reports of new mothers being stuck with thousands of dollars in transportation bills because of a narrow interpretation of current law by VA, Senator Murray introduced the VA Newborn Emergency Treatment Act to make clear VA has the authority to cover the costs of medically-necessary emergency transportation services for newborn babies of certain women veterans. The provision’s passage out of committee today follows Senator Murray’s efforts to bring the legislation for a committee vote last year.

Read the fact sheet on the VA Newborn Emergency Treatment Act HERE.

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