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House Passes Gallego-Authored Bill to Uphold Trust Responsibility to Native American Veterans

September 22, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House passed H.R. 4908, Native American Veteran Parity in Access to Care Today (PACT) Act, by voice vote. The bipartisan bill, introduced by Chairman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) of the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the U.S., would bring the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) in line with the federal trust responsibility to Tribal Nations by ending the practice of charging American Indian and Alaska Native veterans a copayment for receiving care at the VHA.

America’s trust and treaty obligations guarantee Native Americans access to health care free of cost and, accordingly, they are not charged copays at Indian Health Service facilities.  Despite this, Native veterans who seek care at the VHA are subject to these out-of-pocket costs. This legislation would provide parity between government-funded sources of health care when it comes to upholding our trust and treaty obligation to guarantee health care to Native Americans.

Rep. Gallego made the following statement:

“As Chairman of the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples and a veteran myself, I am proud to work with my colleagues, Indian Country, and the VA to pass this critically important bill to uphold our trust and treaty obligations and ensure Native veterans can access the care they have earned. I urge the Senate to move quickly to send this bill to the president’s desk.”

Rep. Ruben Gallego serves as Chair of the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples. He is a Marine Corps combat veteran.