National Guard Association asks President Biden to support Healthcare for Our Troops Act.
Last month, Mississippi Congressman Trent Kelly (MS-01) and Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) introduced the Healthcare for Our Troops Act. The Healthcare for Our Troops Act (H.R. 3152) aims to expand access to affordable health care for members of the Guard and Reserve who lack private health insurance.
“The people who serve in the National Guard and reserve forces are a critical piece of our military and play an increasingly crucial role in keeping us safe at home and abroad. Providing healthcare for all service members is a readiness issue, and our Guardsmen and Reservists deserve access to preventive and routine healthcare,” said Congressman Trent Kelly.
Retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, the president of the National Guard Association of the United States, wrote to President Joe Biden and urged him to support the bill. The president and first lady Jill Biden have a kinship with the Guard because their late son was a major in the Delaware Army National Guard.
“The problem is,” Robinson noted, “nearly one in five Guard members has no private health insurance and they are usually not entitled to government-provided coverage when mobilized for domestic missions.”
If passed, the Healthcare for Our Troops Act would give members of the National Guard and reserves access to no-fee health care through TRICARE, which provides medical and dental coverage. It would also help increase military readiness by ensuring access to needed physicals for no-notice deployments, provide incentives for small businesses to hire members of the Guard and reserves, and eliminate statutory language that excludes some service members who are also federal employees from TRICARE eligibility.
“National Guard members will continue to be deployed in high numbers at home and abroad to defend American security, and medical readiness is vital to the ability to rapidly deploy,” Robinson wrote. “They are part of an operational force that Americans count on to be always ready, always there. We would never debate the need to provide full medical coverage to active-component service members — it is long past time that we view the Guard and Reserve in the same light.”
The legislation is co-sponsored by several other members of the House, including Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, and Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., the co-chairs of the House National Guard and Reserve Caucus.