Bill proposed to eliminate first 3 mental healthcare copays for vets

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 10:37 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A proposed bill could eliminate the first three mental health copays for veterans each year. The Remove Copays Act would pay for outpatient mental health and substance abuse each year.

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, about 41 percent, or about 1.7 million veterans, have a mental health need. One vet I spoke with today says it’s important to have other resources outside of what the VA provides.

Veteran Robert Edwards Jr served 26 years in the military and deployed six times three to Iraq and three to Afghanistan. He says getting the proper help that he and other veterans need is vital. Edwards says some service members will let their pride get in the way and suffer in silence.

“To know That you can go to your primary caregiver and walk in there and tell them that I need counseling I need to I need to speak to someone and then they can refer you to an outside source that’s working with the same primary care provider that’s awesome,” Robert Edwards Jr said.

Counselor Thomas Waynick of the pastoral institute also served in the military. He says it’s important to offer veterans many ways to access healthcare.

“In the civilian world there’s a stigma with mental health when you provide more opportunities that helps that wall to come down and just the ease of anytime you make it easier for people to access care they’re more likely to use it,” says Waynick

Senator John Ossofff is sponsoring the legislation. He tells Newsleader 9 the bill is needed because for many Georgians mental healthcare service is too hard to access.

“Veterans through their service have earned this support have they earned these benefits they’ve earned this care and it’s just too expensive right now for veterans to access mental health care services that’s why my legislation and it’s bipartisan legislation supported by Democrats and Republicans will get rid of co-pays for up to three mental health visits per year for all veterans in Georgia and nationwide,” said Senator Ossoff

Thursday Senator Ossoff and Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota will introduce this bipartisan bill.