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Most people assume our nation’s non-elderly veterans receive health benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, only two-thirds of veterans are eligible for VA health care and only one-third are enrolled.

Here in Montana, for the veterans who qualify for the VA, many of them live in rural areas that often have no VA facilities nearby. Of course, proximity to VA facilities increases the likelihood that veterans will seek health services – but if you lived one to three hours away from the nearest VA facility, how likely is it to make that round-trip trek in the middle of winter for a doctor’s appointment? We’re asking Montana veterans to risk their lives just for a simple check-up.

Uninsured veterans have substantial medical needs and they often have a disproportionate number and complexity of health issues. Where do veterans who opt to be outside of the VA go for health care? Thanks to Montana’s Medicaid expansion program, these veterans have enrolled and they get additional coverage. They are able to access local providers and get regular care in their communities.

Support our troops when they come home. Call on our legislators to continue expanded Medicaid. We owe it to them.

Joshua Manning

Helena

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