This Veterans Day, let’s talk about our military heroes and their health. It’s the least we can do for those who sacrificed to serve our country and protect our freedom. But not all Veterans can get the affordable, quality health coverage that they need and deserve – and many are being left behind. As of 2020, across the country, there are more than 1 million Veterans who can’t access the critical physical and mental health care they need. In Georgia, 14,000 veterans cannot access care because our state lawmakers are refusing to close the coverage gap.
As we come together to honor our Veterans and the sacrifices they made to keep us safe, we must urge our elected leaders to bridge the coverage gap by expanding Medicaid. One in every five uninsured Georgia Veterans (and their families) would be able to get the essential health coverage they need to stay healthy and thrive.
Contrary to the wide-spread misconception that all veterans receive health services at the Veteran’s Administration (VA), veterans can be uninsured for several reasons. Those who serve for less than two years, or have an “other than honorable” discharge, may not be eligible for VA benefits. Moreover, eligibility status is prioritized according to a history of service-related injuries and income, among other factors; those in lower priority groups may be denied services. Some veterans may also be unaware of their current eligibility for VA benefits, either because they have never applied, or because they have been rejected in the past.
Medicaid expansion has made a significant difference in communities across the country by allowing residents to secure affordable, high-quality health coverage for themselves and their loved ones.
Veterans and their families deserve access to quality care. It has been reported that less than half of returning Veterans receive the mental health support and treatment they need. With Medicaid, vital mental health services like therapy, inpatient treatment, and prescription medication are all covered. Expanding Medicaid and closing the coverage gap would allow more Veterans and their families to access essential and potentially life-saving mental health services.
Georgia Veterans protected our freedom and served our country. This Veterans Day, let’s honor them by fighting for Medicaid expansion. It’s past time for state lawmakers to act so all Veterans and their families have access to the healthcare they need and deserve.