Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of both the Veterans’ Affairs and Appropriations Committees, applauded passage of a bipartisan Senate veteran spending bill that includes a provision to allow the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to cover the costs of assisted reproductive technology, including IVF. Currently, veterans who have service-related injuries that prevent them from having children naturally must cover the costs of IVF out of pocket, which can cost more than $12,000 per round. Sen. Murray has been fighting since 2012 to reverse this policy.
Before the final vote, Senator Murray spoke on the Senate floor about the provision.
Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:
“When this country sends brave men and women to war, we promise to take care of them when they return. And that’s why I’ve been fighting to change this policy for once and for all.”
“This issue shouldn’t be about politics. It shouldn’t be about partisanship. And we shouldn’t cut corners when it comes to our veterans and their families. This is a chance to support our veterans, and the dreams that they fought so hard for. ”
Full text of Senator Murray’s Remarks as Prepared for Delivery:
“M. President, I am honored to come to the floor today with good news for thousands of families–including three couples I met just last week here in our nation’s capital. Each of the veterans I met with had suffered a catastrophic injury while fighting for our country– changing the course of their life, and their families’ lives, forever.
“Matt Keil was shot by a sniper and paralyzed.
“Kevin Jaye was injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
“Tyler Black was paralyzed during a firefight.
“And what was the one thing each veteran wished for after he returned home and got out of the hospital?
“Like so many young men and women in this country, they dreamed of having a family of their own. And even though each veteran suffered injuries that made it nearly impossible to conceive naturally, they had hope– because in this day and age, the medical technology exists to make their dream come true. The most popular path is in vitro , or IVF.
“But M. President, because of a policy enacted decades ago, the VA is barred from covering the costs of IVF– forcing Matt, Kevin, and Tyler – with their partners – to go this road alone. Collectively, they’ve paid tens and tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket. As Matt said, when he heard that the VA wouldn’t cover the one medical procedure he and wife wanted so badly, he felt like his country had abandoned him.
“We are talking about a man who sacrificed his body for our country.
“M. President – this is wrong. When this country sends brave men and women to war, we promise to take care of them when they return. And that’s why I’ve been fighting to change this policy for once and for all. And today, I’m so proud to see this effort take a big step forward with bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate. My provision in this VA appropriations bill will allow the VA to cover those costs and let our veterans know, your country is there for you.
“This is the right thing to do, for Matt and his wife Tracy, for Kevin and Lauren, and Tyler and Crystal, and every other family in this country.
“Now, as we move to pass this bill through the Senate, I call on our colleagues in the House to follow suit and finally get this done. This issue shouldn’t be about politics. It shouldn’t be about partisanship. And we shouldn’t cut corners when it comes to our veterans and their families. This is a chance to support our veterans, and the dreams that they fought so hard for.
“Thank you, I yield the floor.”
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