Washington, DC (WOWK) – Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Joni Ernst (R-IA), say they will introduce the Support Our National Guard Act next week. This bill will provide transitional healthcare benefits to National Guard service members who have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic under Title 32 502(f) orders.
“As we fight the COVID-19 pandemic, our National Guard service members are on the front lines, providing support for unemployment programs, feeding members of their communities, and ensuring hospitals receive essential PPE and other medical supplies,” Manchin says. “Every day they put themselves at risk to take care of their fellow West Virginians, and I am proud to introduce bipartisan legislation with Senator Ernst to ensure our service members receive the transition benefits they deserve. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this legislation for our brave service members.”
When a National Guard servicemember deploys on an operation abroad, the federal government provides that Guardsman with transition benefits when they return home to ensure there is no lapse in healthcare coverage, according to the senators. However, they say National Guardsmen serving on Title 32 502(f) orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic do not receive those same benefits.
“Right now, we have Iowa National Guard troops on the front lines fighting COVID-19. We need to make sure these hardworking men and women can use their military health insurance, TRICARE, for at least six months after their mission. This is common sense and will take a huge burden of worry off our military families. I’m proud to co-sponsor this bipartisan effort to ensure continuity of health care for our service members who have rushed to help Iowans and Americans during this crisis,” Ernst, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard, says.
“The National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) thanks Senator Manchin and Senator Ernst for introducing legislation supporting National Guard service members on the frontlines with COVID-19,” says retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, the NGAUS president. “National Guard soldiers and airmen are serving alongside our brave doctors, nurses, and first responders and they deserve comprehensive healthcare in the battle against COVID-19. This commonsense legislation ensures that National Guard members continue to receive critical healthcare coverage when they are able to return home to their families.”