WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), a four-term member of the House Armed Services Committee, and Congressman Tim Walz (MN-01), Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, announced the inclusion of their provision to extend TRICARE health benefits currently available to Active Component forces to deployed reserve component service members in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), as reported out of the Conference Committee.
“Our National Guard and Reserve members deserve the same benefits as those they serve alongside,” said Rep. Shea-Porter. “With this fix, all our overseas troops and their families will now have access to TRICARE health benefits, both before and after deployment. I was glad to work with Congressman Walz on this legislation, and I thank him for serving our nation and then being a tireless advocate for all those who served.”
“This is about recognizing the sacrifice of all our men and women who volunteer freely to serve this nation,” said Rep. Tim Walz. “Ensuring fairness in TRICARE health benefits to National Guard and Reserve Component troops who answer the call to serve right alongside their Active Component counterparts is the right thing to do. I thank Rep. Shea-Porter, our VSO partners, and most importantly, our veterans, servicemembers and military families for fighting to bring these brave Americans and their loved ones the peace of mind that comes with knowing they will now be eligible for TRICARE health benefits.”
The provision was first introduced as part of H.R. 1384, the Reserve Component Benefits Parity Act, a comprehensive, bipartisan bill to provide fairness to certain mobilized National Guard and Reserve Component service members by extending eligibility for certain benefits. H.R.1384 was sponsored by Walz and co-introduced by Shea-Porter and Reps. Palazzo (MS-04) and Franks (AZ-08).
In October, Shea-Porter and Walz wrote to the NDAA conferees to urge them to retain Section 503 of the House NDAA, which would authorize Reserve Component members activated under the authority provided by either §12304a or §12304b of title 10, United States Code, to receive pre-mobilization and transitional TRICARE health care. Their letter was cosigned by Reps. Palazzo, Rosen, Moulton, Brown, Jones, Stivers, Bordallo, Lamborn, Hanabusa, Moore (WI), Gonzalez, DesJarlais, McGovern, Radewagen, and Gallego.
A large number of veterans and military organizations supported the fix, including the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), the Military Coalition (TMC), the Reserve Officers Association (ROA), the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS), the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), the National Military Family Association, the Air Force Association, the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), and the Association of the United States Navy (AUSN).