The House voted 265-163 to approve a bill for veterans to enroll in VA Health Care automatically on Thursday. Otherwise known as the Veterans’ Smooth Transition, or EVEST, Act.
Veterans To Enroll In VA Health Care Automatically
Veterans who are eligible would be automatically enrolled in the VA health care system under a bill passed by the House on Thursday.
Currently, veterans must manually apply for VA health care benefits. The bill approved would require the department to enroll eligible veterans for VA health care automatically. The VA would also have to give way for veterans to opt out of benefits.
The bill would apply to veterans discharged 90 days before it becomes law. Moving forward, the Senate still needs to vote on the bill before the president can sign it into law.
“We know that the months following transition out of the military can be very stressful and particularly risky for new veterans in terms of mental health,” bill sponsor and House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano, D-Calif., said on the House floor on Thursday.
“This helps simplify the process and prevents veterans from potentially missing out on lifesaving care. It also keeps veterans from having to opt-in to VA care later and attempt to navigate a new bureaucracy on their own.”
The CBO estimated that the bill could cost about $3.1 billion over the next five years.
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