February 11, 2016 8:00 AM
The House of Representatives passed Congressman Doug Collins’ (R-GA-9) bill on Tuesday, H.R. 423. The Newborn Care Improvement Act was authored by Collins, and is part of a larger package of bills called the Veteran Employment, Education, and Healthcare Improvement Act. His bill specifically addresses post-delivery care services for female veterans.
H.R. 423 will extend the amount of time that newborn children of female veterans will be covered by the Department of Veteran Affair’s benefits. The VA currently allows them up to 7 days after delivery for care, and this bill will extend that number to 42.
Factors like PTSD and combat injuries causes many female veterans to face high-risk pregnancies. Collin’s stated to the House that females suffering from PTSD in the year before a pregnancy increase their chances of a premature delivery by 35 percent. This increase in VA maternity benefits will provide extra time in the hospital if their newborn needs it.
Collins, on the House floor on Tuesday:
“These women have risked their lives to protect our nation, and our responsibility to them doesn’t end when they are no longer serving in active duty. In fact, their service to our country may jeopardize the very lives of their future children meaning our responsibility to them is even greater.”
…”Any new mother, who has given selflessly to her country, shouldn’t have to worry about Congress standing in her way as she tries to give selflessly to her own child.”
Female veterans are at a disadvantage with the VA’s benefits, for the service available to them was designed for males. The most significant of these problems is access to healthcare, and Collins’ bill is asking that the VA expands its care and services to finally meet the needs of female veterans.