Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Brian Mast Lead Bipartisan Letter, Concerns With Proposed Reduction in Military Medical Personnel

May 23, 2019
Press Release
Washington, DC—Yesterday, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) along with Rep. Brian Mast (FL-18) led a bipartisan letter sent to the Director of the Defense Health Agency and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs expressing concern regarding the proposed elimination of over 17,000 military medical personnel and the impact it would have on servicemembers as well as their families.
“Servicemembers and their families have made the ultimate commitment to our country. Making sure they get the healthcare they need is essential. To cut so many healthcare professionals runs the risk of compromising our troops’ health and wellbeing, readiness and operational capacity. It could disproportionately impact rural and underserved areas where we already face a shortage of medical professionals and specialists,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “In light of these concerns, we need answers.”
“I’ve always said that we need to do more for the men and women who put on the uniform for our country,” Rep. Brian Mast said. “Potentially eliminating 17,000 military healthcare professionals does the exact opposite. These cuts could negatively impact the health and safety of our servicemembers and threaten the success of the mission at hand. More information is needed about why this is being proposed and what steps are being taken to ensure continued support for our service members.”
Background: Military commands have been instructed to prepare for the elimination of over 17,000 military medical personnel by October 1, 2019. These include physicians, social workers, psychologists, and other mental health professional billets, some even serving in areas where civilian practitioners are unavailable.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has led the fight in Congress to ensure that U.S. servicemembers, veterans, and their families receive the care they need and deserve. In addition to raising awareness about the challenges faced by Hawai‘i’s veterans, she has been an outspoken leader across a range of healthcare challenges that veterans face including recognizing and providing healthcare for victims of Agent Orange and burn pits, sexual assault, improving care for the growing number of female veterans as more and more women serve, meeting the needs of disabled veterans as well as veterans in rural areas, and tackling the challenges of suicide and mental health.
About Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving her fourth term in the United States House representing Hawaii’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, 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...
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