Press Release

Senator Welch, Senator Stabenow, and Representative Brownley Introduce Bill to Improve Veteran Access to Medical Care

Mar 1, 2023

WASHINGTON – Senators Peter Welch (D-VT) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Representative Julia Brownley (D-CA) today introduced legislation to lower costs for veterans traveling to receive medical care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). By increasing the VA’s travel reimbursement rate, the Driver Reimbursement Increase for Veteran Equity (DRIVE) Act will make it easier for veterans to receive essential health care and ensure reimbursement rates keep pace with future inflation and fluctuations in gas prices. The bill is particularly important for veterans from small and rural communities, many of whom travel long distances to receive essential medical care through the VA.  

“Our veterans have performed the ultimate public service. To honor that service, we must ensure the cost of the war includes the cost of caring for the warrior and provide the support our veterans need when their service comes to an end,” said Sen. Welch. “This bill strengthens veterans’ access to medical care and will help keep out of pocket costs low for vets and their families moving forward—it’s a long overdue change, and I’m grateful to work alongside Sen. Stabenow and Rep. Brownley to introduce this bill for America’s veterans.”  

“Our women and men who have served sacrificed so much for our country,” said Sen. Stabenow. “This important legislation provides financial support to veterans so that they can access the medical care they need, despite rising transportation costs.” 

“Our veterans should not have to choose between getting the care they’ve earned and deserve, and the fluctuating and rising cost of travel to access that care,” said Rep. Brownley. “This legislation makes a critical improvement to the program by ensuring that veterans from all walks of life do not shoulder the burden of their travel expenses – especially low-income veterans and veterans who live in rural areas who are heavily reliant on VA’s travel reimbursement program.”   

The DRIVE Act requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure the Beneficiary Travel reimbursement rate is at least equal to the General Services Administration (GSA) reimbursement rate for federal employees who use their personal vehicles for official business.  

For the full text of the DRIVE Act, please click here