Outrageous VA Cannot Pay for Fertility Treatments for Injured Veterans
An injured veteran - left paralyzed from the chest down by an IED attack - described his and other families' battle against the VA as he tries to start a family with his wife.
Given the severe injuries he sustained in the 2011 bombing in Afghanistan, retired Army Staff Sgt. Alex Dillmann and his wife, Holly, are trying to get pregnant via in-vitro fertilization.
But current federal law does not allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to pay for the treatments. If Dillmann was still on active duty, the fertility treatments would be covered, but it does not apply to retired veterans.
The current law went into effect 23 years ago, but is now being challenged from both sides of the political aisle, as injured heroes from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars try to have children.
The VA says it supports legislation that would allow them to pay for the treatments.
The Washington Post reports:
On Capitol Hill, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) has called the ban on funding for this process “a shocking gap, outdated and just wrong” and introduced a bill to let VA pay for IVF. The measure also would cover the costs of surrogate pregnancies and adoption.
“It’s a bill that recognizes the men and women who are harmed in the service of this country have bright, full lives ahead of them,” she said. “To me, it’s such a no-brainer. The technology is there now. Why can’t we help them?”
Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, had objected to Murray’s plan to pay for her bill with $568 million designated for combat operations. But he said he was receptive to lifting the ban and introduced his own slimmed-down version. His measure is more limited — it wouldn’t cover adoption or surrogacy, for instance — and a source of funding has yet to be identified.
Alex and Holly discussed their situation this morning on "Fox and Friends," with Holly explaining that one round of IVF will cost them between $25,000 and $30,000, plus added costs for medications.
"This is something that we shouldn't even really be having to think about. My husband has given so much of himself and time and service to this great nation," she said.
Alex said they hope that Congress can come together to fix this and allow combat-wounded veterans to get the help they need to start a family.
Watch the story above.