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  • Britt Myers

Letter of Support for H.R. 8371

Updated: May 16



On May 15, 2024, House and Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs leaders Chairman Mike Bost (R-Ill.), Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), introduced H.R. 8371, the Senator Elizabeth Dole 21st Century Veterans Healthcare and Benefits Improvement Act. This legislation includes a number of bipartisan and bicameral proposals to reform and improve the delivery of healthcare, benefits, and services at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for veterans, their families, and their survivors.


Mission Roll Call is proud to support legislation that improves the lives of veterans and their families. Primarily, these are three areas Mission Roll Call has prioritized based on their feedback: suicide prevention, access to timely and effective care and benefits, and accountability within the VA, all of which are reflected by provisions in the proposed bill.

Addressed to Speaker Mike Johnson, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the letter is signed by Mission Roll Call's Chief Executive Officer, Jim Whaley. Read the letter below. 


Dear Speaker Johnson, Majority Leader Schumer, Minority Leader Jeffries, and Minority Leader McConnell:


Mission Roll Call (MRC), a national organization committed to giving veterans and their families a voice in Congress, wishes to convey our full support for H.R. 8371, The Senator Elizabeth Dole 21st Century Veterans Healthcare and Benefits Improvement Act. MRC routinely hears from veterans, their families, and supporters about policies important to them that are under consideration by Congress. These issues include suicide prevention, access to timely and effective care and benefits, and accountability within the VA, all of which are reflected by provisions in the proposed bill.


MRC has consistently advocated for better veteran suicide prevention policy. Every year, the VA conducts the largest national analysis of veteran suicide data, which currently indicates that ~17 veterans per day take their own lives. Unfortunately, the data being used presents an incomplete look at the scope of the problem. MRC believes section 149 of this bill provides a vital tool to fix this shortfall.


Additionally, MRC supports provisions in the bill that solidify a veteran’s ability to coordinate care with their provider, reduce bureaucratic interference, and strengthen VA outreach to better inform veterans of their healthcare options. Sections 101, 102, and 145 of the bill include language MRC has previously supported in June 2023 testimony to the House Veterans Affairs Committee. 


This support was based on feedback from approximately forty-three thousand veterans in the United States via MRC polls. Requirements in these sections to document and respect veterans' preferences for scheduling appointments, including for community providers, demonstrate a commitment to patient-centered care and accountability. 


We recognize that with any bipartisan, bicameral piece of legislation, there will not be a unanimous affirmation of every proposed policy included. But we respectfully request your support for H.R. 8371 and would further ask that you urge your respective caucuses to do the same. Thank you for your dedication to our nation's veterans, their families, and supporters.


Sincerely,


Jim Whaley

Chief Executive Officer

Mission Roll Call


CC:


The Honorable Mike Bost

Chairman

House Veterans Affairs Committee


The Honorable Jon Tester

Chairman

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee


The Honorable Mark Takano

Ranking Member

House Veterans Affairs Committee


The Honorable Jerry Moran

Ranking Member

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee

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