Providing for Consideration of H.R. 2655, Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2013, and Providing for Consideration of H.R. 982, Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (Fact) Act of 2013by Representative Elizabeth H. Esty
Posted on 2013-11-13
ESTY. Thank you to the gentleman from Florida.
Mr. Speaker, last week, when I was back in my district, I didn't hear about asbestos. I didn't hear about rule 11 sanctions. I heard about how harmful the government shutdown was, about the need to pass comprehensive immigration reform and of the hope that this Congress would focus on job-creating measures, but I also heard from folks in my district about the costs they face in caring for their beloved family members--veterans, who have proudly served our country.
[[Page H7014]] Many of these veterans receive care at home, as they prefer, but some families are simply not able to provide home care for financial or other reasons. Now, these veterans could seek long-term institutional care through the VA, but that is much more expensive. The VA's FY14 budget request estimates that long-term institutional care costs the VA over $116,000 per veteran per year. Caregivers of the post- 9/11 victims are eligible for a stipend, which costs much less than the cost of long-term care. More than 10,000 veteran caregivers and their families have been helped so far, and that is a very good thing, but there are more who should qualify. There are more veterans in need, and we shouldn't leave them behind.
I introduced the Caregivers Expansion and Improvement Act, which would expand the eligibility for veterans' caregiver benefits to family caregivers of all veterans. According to the CBO, approximately 70,000 caregivers of pre-9/11 veterans could be eligible for this program, and let's stop kidding ourselves into believing we are not already spending more taxpayer dollars to provide care through other VA programs.
Let's work together on a solution for all of our veterans, some of whom, in fact, were exposed to asbestos and suffer from mesothelioma. I urge my colleagues to defeat the previous question so that we can consider the Caregivers Expansion and Improvement Act in order to honor our obligation to care for our veterans, an obligation which did not end on Veterans Day.