WASHINGTON — Sen. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and others have introduced legislation to lower costs for veterans traveling to receive medical care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). By increasing the VA’s travel reimbursement rate, the Driver Reimbursement Increase for Veteran Equity (DRIVE) Act will make it easier for veterans to receive essential health care and ensure reimbursement rates keep pace with future inflation and fluctuations in gas prices, Welch said in a release.
The bill is particularly important for veterans from small and rural communities, many of whom travel long distances to receive essential medical care through the VA.
“Our veterans have performed the ultimate public service. To honor that service, we must ensure the cost of the war includes the cost of caring for the warrior and provide the support our veterans need when their service comes to an end,” Welch said in the release. “This bill strengthens veterans’ access to medical care and will help keep out of pocket costs low for vets and their families moving forward — it’s a long overdue change, and I’m grateful to work alongside Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Rep. Julia Brownley to introduce this bill for America’s veterans.”
The DRIVE Act requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure the Beneficiary Travel reimbursement rate is at least equal to the General Services Administration (GSA) reimbursement rate for federal employees who use their personal vehicles for official business.