Press Release

Rep. Castor Statement on House GOP Voting Against Health Care for Women Veterans

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Washington, June 16, 2021 | comments

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) released the following statement after Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives blocked passage of the Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act (H.R. 239), legislation to provide women veterans access to the same no-cost contraceptive care as their non-veteran counterparts. Rep. Castor is a cosponsor of this bill.

“In an affront to female veterans, House Republicans blocked commonsense legislation that would treat female veterans the same as women in uniform and civilians when it comes to access to health care. GOP members in Congress have become more out-of-touch with mainstream America and also voted to block the Congressional Gold Medal for the Capitol Police and the bipartisan Commission to Investigate the January 6 insurrection. In fact, most Republican members supported the female veterans legislation last year, but have taken a radical turn this Congress. Women veterans have served our country with honor and deserve equal access to health care once they return home. Our veteran neighbors in Tampa can rest assured that I’ll continue to work to pass this legislation and meet their needs in the days ahead. We owe them the best for their service and sacrifice for our nation,” said Rep. Castor.

Women veterans now make up the fastest growing group of veterans enrolling in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care. The James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa has a women’s center yet, many health needs still go unaddressed in a VA system that has not evolved to equitably serve a changing population. This includes accessing basic contraceptive services without a co-pay. Under the Affordable Care Act, all women using civilian health insurance may access basic contraceptive services without a co-pay. Active duty servicemembers also have access to contraception without co-pays through TRICARE. Currently, women veterans using VA healthcare are currently denied this access. The benefits of contraception are widely recognized and eliminating cost-sharing barriers can greatly improve access to the full-range of contraception and related counseling that improves women’s health. 

The Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act is endorsed by the following Veterans Service Organizations: Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Minority Veterans of America (MVA), Modern Military Association of America (MMAA), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Wounded Warrior Project (WWP).

Read the full text of the bill here.

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