Law Seeks To Improve Female Veterans' Health Care

The [Tacoma, Wash.] News-Tribune reports that "elected officials worry that women face barriers to veterans benefits, especially health care. 'Once they get in, they see progress,' Sen. Patty Murray told The News Tribune in a phone interview last week. 'But the barriers they face now mean they don't always get the care they need.' Murray, a Washington Democrat and a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, introduced legislation aimed to improve access to care for female veterans. Her bill was rolled into the Caregiver and Veterans Omnibus Health bill, which passed unanimously on Nov. 19. ... Women now make up about 15 percent of the military, according to Pentagon statistics. Almost 2 million women are veterans, a number expected to double in the next five years."

"About 23 percent of women using VA health care have reported sexual assault when in the military, and 55 percent have reported sexual harassment, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. ... Murray's legislation – officially named the Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act of 2009 – attracted 20 co-sponsors and bipartisan support. The House version passed June 23, and the bill now awaits the president's signature to become law" (Fontaine, 11/29).

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