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Today, Congressman Lawler released the following statement after introducing the Heroes Earned Affordable Lifts Act, or the HEAL Act, a piece of legislation that makes several reforms to help lower costs for veterans traveling to their healthcare appointments.

“The HEAL Act is a major step forward in improving access to healthcare for veterans in the Hudson Valley and across the country,” said Congressman Mike Lawler. “Raising mileage reimbursement rates, getting rid of the deductible, and allowing VSOs and VSAs to qualify for reimbursement will help provide additional and affordable services to our heroes.”

“To those who have served our country selflessly, I say this - I will always have your backs, and this legislation is proof of that,” concluded Congressman Lawler. “By making access to healthcare easier and more affordable, our veterans can continue to get the quality care they deserve without breaking the bank getting there.”

“Congressman Lawler has worked tirelessly to interface with our agency and to help provide additional support to the veterans of Putnam County,” said Karl Rohde, Director of the Putnam County Veterans Service Agency. “The HEAL Act is a critical piece of legislation that will make access to healthcare easier and more affordable for veterans in Putnam and across the Hudson Valley, while freeing up additional dollars to provide more services to our nation’s heroes.”

“I’m thankful that Congressman Lawler is following up on his promises to his Veterans Advisory Board by introducing this legislation,” said Mark Woods, BRIDGES Director of Veteran Services. “His commitment to those who have served this country is exemplary, and I look forward to seeing what other legislation Congressman Lawler has in store to help our veterans.”

New York's 17th Congressional District is just north of New York City and contains all or parts of Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, and Westchester Counties.

Additional information on the HEAL Act can be found below:

  • The HEAL Act will ensure Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and local Veterans Service Agencies (VSAs) that provide rides to veterans for medical services receive the same travel reimbursements that veterans and caregivers receive. 
  • The HEAL Act also removes the deductible for beneficiary travel, which serves as a barrier to care.
  • Finally, the HEAL Act raises the mileage reimbursement rate for travel to approved health care appointments to 65.50 cents, equivalent to the mileage reimbursement rate for privately owned vehicles if no government-furnished automobile is available.