Press Releases

Military Support Organizations Endorse Rep. Kim and Kelly Effort to Expand Healthcare to Service Members

Washington, June 17, 2021
WASHINGTON – In the wake of a bipartisan bill introduced by Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) and Congressman Trent Kelly (MS-01) that would address what the head of the National Guard Bureau, Army General Daniel Hokanson, called “one of my most pressing concerns”, several military and service member support organizations have endorsed the Healthcare for our Troops Act.

The bill, H.R. 3512, which would make no-fee healthcare available to the over 800,000 Americans serving our nation in the Reserve and National Guard, is co-sponsored by the two co-chairs of the National Guard and Reserve Caucus, Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) and Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-04), as well as Congressman Scott DesJarlais (TN-04), Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33), Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-05), Congresswoman Marie Newman (IL-03), Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele (HI-02), and Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10).

This bill has the support of: National Guard Association of the U.S. (NGAUS), Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the U.S. (EANGUS), Association of the United States Army (AUSA), Chief Warrant Officers Association of the U.S. Coast Guard, Naval Enlisted Reserve Association, Reserve Organization of America (formerly Reserve Officers Association), Air Force Sergeants Association, the Wounded Warrior Project, VoteVets, and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.

“You would think members of the force America counts on to be always ready, always there would all have health insurance, but that’s not the case. In fact, we’ve had to send National Guard soldiers and airmen to the frontlines of the worst public health crisis in a century without medical coverage. This legislation would ensure that never happens again. We applaud it,” said retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, the NGAUS president. “It would also provide the Guard with a game-changing recruiting and retention tool, which would go a long way toward paying for this coverage,” he added. “It’s the right thing to do for the Guard and the nation.”

"The Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS) would like to express our gratitude to Rep. Andy Kim for his hard work and dedication to the National Guard and his efforts to ensure medical readiness for our servicemembers," said Command Sergeant Major (Retired) Karen Craig, President of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States. "Ensuring that National Guard servicemembers are ready to answer our nation's call is always of the utmost concern. Medical readiness is one of the most critical aspects of ensuring our members are prepared at a moment's notice and providing healthcare is the key to ensuring this happens."

“The Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA) would like to extend its sincerest gratitude to Representatives Andy Kim and Trent Kelly for introducing this crucial legislation,” said the AFSA’s Executive Director Keith A. Reed. “For too long, members of the reserve component have been denied equitable access to the healthcare they are entitled to receive by virtue of serving our country in uniform. This legislation would remedy this wrong by allowing eligible beneficiaries to enroll in the healthcare plan of their choice at no cost and provide early age retirees who are drawing retirement pay with long-desired coverage parity. The AFSA is proud to support this bill, and we are looking forward to working with members of Congress to secure its expeditious codification in public law.”

Specifically, if enacted, the Healthcare for our Troops Act would:

Ensure every service member has healthcare

Provide premium-free/zero cost sharing medical and dental coverage for Selected Reserve members eligible for TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS)
Address financial barriers to seeking mental health care
Improve readiness

Prepare service members for no-notice deployments
Provide comprehensive treatment for illnesses and injuries which affect medical readiness, regardless of duty status
Require a study on eliminating annual physicals during drill and replacing them with forms to be completed by civilian providers to assess medical readiness--giving commanders back valuable training days and saving over $162 Million annually in contracted medical assessments
Provide incentives for service and hiring service members

Provide an employer incentive to hiring Guard and Reserve members by lessening demand for employer-sponsored healthcare plans.
Eliminate the statutory language that excludes those eligible for Federal Employees Health Benefits Program from TRICARE Reserve Select eligibility
Fix the parity gap for Reserve Component retirees receiving early retirement pay due to deployment credits making them eligible for TRICARE upon receipt of retirement pay

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