Trone reintroduces bill to expand long-term care for veterans
Credit: Garrett County Republican
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Congressman David Trone (MD-06) reintroduced the Expanding Veterans’ Options for Long Term Care Act, which would help senior veterans live more independently and cut costs for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The legislation creates a three-year pilot program for eligible veterans to receive assisted living care paid for by the VA. The bill is co-led by Democrats Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) and Annie Kuster (NH-02), and Republican Bryan Steil (WI-01).
A September 2021 report to Congress by the VA concluded that the number of veterans eligible for nursing home care is expected to rise by approximately 535% over the next 20 years. However, many of these veterans do not require the comprehensive care provided by nursing homes and would be better served by assisted living, which would allow them to live more independently. Currently, the VA is barred from covering room and board at assisted living facilities.
VA coverage of assisted living care would also significantly cut costs for the department, as nursing home fees average nearly $121,000 per year, while assisted living facilities cost only a little more than $51,000 per year.
“With an increasing number of veterans in need of long-term health services, we have a responsibility to ensure access to and affordability of high-quality care for our service members,” said Rep. Trone. “This new assisted living pilot program will help veterans retain as much independence as possible while securing savings for the VA and its programs. As the proud son of a veteran, I’m committed to honoring America’s brave, and that starts with delivering the care they so rightly earned.”
“When we send our men and women in uniform into harm’s way, we make a solemn promise to take care of them when they return home, including in their later years,” said Rep. Slotkin. “Our bill is a bipartisan approach to make sure that our veterans have access to affordable, high-quality care later in life. I’m pleased that this pilot program will lay the groundwork for veterans to live their lives independently and without undue financial stress.”
“The brave men and women who serve our country in uniform sacrifice so much to keep us safe and protect our freedoms. It is essential we support them when they come home,” said Rep. Kuster, founder and co-chair of the 21st Century Long-Term Care Caucus. “I am proud to help reintroduce this bipartisan legislation to provide our service members choices and ensure they receive high-quality long-term care. I will always fight for our nation’s veterans.”
The bill has been endorsed by a range of veteran service organizations and stakeholders nationwide, including Disabled American Veterans (DAV), National Association of State Veterans Homes (NASVH), Military Officers, Association of America (MOAA), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Paralyzed Veterans of America’s Associate (PVA), American Association of Retired People (AARP), Michigan Assisted Living Association (MALA), Argentum, the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA).