Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Bills to Improve Veteran Mental Healthcare
November 8, 2019
Washington, DC—Today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) introduced three bills to support healthcare benefits for our veterans and servicemembers.
H.R.4992, the Recovery Engagement and Coordination for Health-Military Innovations for Life Act (REACH MIL Act) builds on the VA’s successful REACH-VET initiative by directing the DoD to provide pre-emptive care and support for service members at high risk of suicide.
H.R.4993, the Refer and Equip Veterans and Military Personnel Act (REVAMP Act) improves the health-related requirements of the Military Transition Assistance Program for military separation.
H.R.4994, the TRICARE Payment and Reimbursement (PAR) Study Act, will help determine whether existing reimbursement rates and proposed discounts offered to mental health providers are limiting access to care, jeopardizing military readiness, and what new policies can improve care.
“My brothers and sisters in uniform serve in some of the most extreme conditions at home and around the world,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “Our grateful nation must fulfill its promise to be there for them when they come home. They are our family and they need to know we have their backs. They have earned and deserve the best possible physical and mental healthcare our nation has to offer. These bills are a step toward ensuring our country fulfills its commitment to care for them.”
Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is a combat veteran of two Middle East deployments and has served in the National Guard now for almost 17 years. She is one of the first female combat veterans ever elected to congress. She is a member of multiple military veterans Congressional Caucuses and is a co-founder and co-leader of the Servicewomen and Women Veterans Caucus which was established earlier this year.
This May, she led a bipartisan effort to oppose the elimination of over 17,000 medical billets by the Department of Defense — including billets for social workers and psychologists. Last Congress, she helped advance H.R.918, the Veteran Urgent Access to Mental Healthcare Act which passed the House. The bill sought to provide initial mental health assessments and mental healthcare to veterans with an other-than-honorable discharge who have deployed and served in combat zones. She has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the challenges to address suicide among active duty and military veterans.
In January 2019, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced H.R. 663, the Burn Pits Accountability Act, with Rep. Brian Mast (FL-18). In May, she wrote about the ongoing fight to track and report burn pit exposure so that veterans can get the care they need, urging Congress not to repeat the mistakes of our nation’s slow response to Agent Orange exposure. Her bill was included in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which was passed by the House in June.
She has also fought for the Deborah Sampson Act (H.R. 2452) to improve access and quality of care at the Department of Veterans Affairs for female veterans and called for better care for servicewomen and women veterans as the military grows to include more women in its ranks.
She was outspoken in her support of an amendment to the 2020 NDAA to create a pilot program on the prosecution of special victim offenses by attendees of military service academies. She has been a leader, supporting and introducing legislation to support victims and punish perpetrators on this issue, since coming to Congress in 2013.
About Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving her fourth term in the United States House representing Hawai‘i’s Second District, and serves on the House Armed Services and Financial Services Committees. She previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 2010, and prior to that at age 21, she was elected to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in 2002, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. Tulsi Gabbard has served in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard for 16 years, is a veteran of two Middle East deployments, and continues to serve as a Major. Learn more about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard...
Follow Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on social media: