Politics

Dave Brat Introduces ‘Tally Bill’ for Veterans

When you vote this Tuesday, vote for people who will defend your liberty, not for those who would limit it. And vote for those who care for our veterans, who put themselves on the line defending our liberty. Virginia Congressman Dave Brat has taken action consistently to make veterans a priority. Two recent bills exemplify his commitment.

Brat writes, “When I assumed the role of Representative for Virginia’s 7th District, I knew that 54,685 veterans in my district would depend on me and my team for assistance. From the outset, I made serving our veterans a priority. I let these veterans know that they had access to congressional resources just by simply reaching out to my office. And not long ago, I hired a one-star general, Janice Igou, to oversee all veterans’ casework and communication.”

Brat’s open door has benefited the veterans of his district. He has helped hundreds of individuals and their families by helping them navigate the federal bureaucracy. Brat’s advocacy gave him a detailed look at the systemic failures in the Veterans Administration that Americans have heard about. Brat is hands-on and detail-oriented, and he took action.

The VA Mission Act

Brat co-sponsored the VA Mission Act, a law passed earlier this year to drag the bloated bureaucracy of the VA into the 21st century. The new law requires VA centers to see veterans in a timely manner, and to keep modern electronic health records to ensure continuity of care. If a center is unable to schedule an appointment, or is too far away, the law gives veterans the right to seek medical care outside the VA system.

Rep. Phil Roe, chairman of the Veterans Affairs committee, thanked Rep. Brat for his leadership on the issue. “I’m grateful for Rep. Brat and his steadfast efforts to support our nation’s veterans, and it was a pleasure meeting and speaking with so many of the veterans in Dave’s district,” said Chairman Roe. “This Congress we have had over two dozen veterans bills signed into law by President Trump, including the VA MISSION Act.  I thank Rep. Brat for his leadership on behalf of veterans in the 7th district.”

The Brian Tally Bill

Brat’s leadership on behalf of veterans is exemplified by his most recent action, introducing the Brian Tally law.  A press release from Brat’s office tells the story.

Brian Tally went to the VA for debilitating back pain in January 2016. At the VA, he was seen by an independent contractor who sent him home with a bag of pills for the pain. Soon after, Brian’s condition got much worse, and he began fearing for his life. He paid out of pocket for an MRI, and Brian learned he had a staph infection in his spine – an ailment a doctor could have found through a simple blood test.

Brian went back to the VA and was able to get an emergency operation through the VA Choice Act, but it was too late. The infection had caused permanent damage to his spine – leaving Brian crippled for the rest of his life.

Of course, Brian filed a claim at the VA. But the VA determined the fault was due to the independent contractor and not a VA employee, so his only recourse was to sue the contractor in state court for medical malpractice. By the time all of this was sorted, however, the statute of limitations had already run out, and Brian was prohibited from filing suit and receiving compensation.

If the malpractice had been done by a VA employee, he would have had an additional year to bring his case in federal court.  The “Tally Bill” would include VA independent contractors under the Federal Tort Claims Act so that veterans who have been misdiagnosed, neglected, or have experienced malpractice will not be left without recourse. “Brian’s story is heartrending. This should not have happened to him. And I hope we can make sure it does not happen to anyone else,” Rep. Brat said.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Bart Marcois

Bart Marcois (@bmarcois) was the principal deputy assistant secretary of energy for international affairs during the Bush administration. Additionally, Marcois served as a career foreign service officer with the State Department.

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