Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Gallego introduces bill for health care savings, quality care for veterans

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Ruben Gallego, D- Phoenix (District 16), has introduced a bipartisan bill that will create a more efficient government and savings for AHCCCS while assuring that veterans receive quality health care.

House Bill 2651 requires Medicaid screening agents to determine whether an applicant has served in the armed forces. If so, their name will be directed to the Department of Veterans Affairs. From there on, it will be determined whether they are eligible for aid from the department, rather than from the state.

"This bill is going to allow Arizona to run more efficiently, making our financial system, as well as health care, more transparent,” Gallego said. “This bill will save health care dollars for Arizona at the same time as providing veterans, who risked their lives for our country, with the health care they need and deserve.”

In most cases, honorably discharged veterans who served at least two years, can apply to receive medical care from the Medical Department of Veterans Affairs. However, VA officials admit they have failed to contact many eligible veterans or their dependents about billions of dollars in unclaimed pensions and disability payments.

Washington, California, Montana and Colorado have adopted the measure, among other states, within the past couple of years. In 2010, Washington saved $4.4 million on health care by enacting a more efficient system.

“By passing this bill, we can act responsibly by putting to use the savings in needed health care areas such as transplants or care for kids and seniors,” Gallego said.

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