SAVE LIVES Act

Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE - Senate unanimously passing the Strengthening and Amplifying Vaccination Efforts to Locally Immunize all Veterans and Every Spouse (SAVE LIVES) Act, bipartisan legislation to expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to veterans and their families under the Department of Veterans Affairs.

North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said the legislation makes it easier for veterans, their loved ones, and their caregivers who are not already prioritized to receive the vaccine at no additional cost to them.

“Our goal is to get vaccines into the arms of every person who wants one, and the people who risked their lives for our freedom should be at the front of the line.” Cramer said. 

According to the legislation, the act would allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide no-cost COVID vaccination services to all veterans, as well as their spouses, caregivers, and Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs recipients as long as vaccines are available.

The legislation also puts pressure on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to adjust the Veterans Affairs Department vaccine allocation. Specifically, the legislation will provide vaccines to: 

Veterans who are not eligible for enrollment in VA’s health care system, including veterans without compensable service-connected disabilities and veterans who have incomes above a certain threshold;

Caregivers of veterans who are enrolled in various VA home-based and long-term care programs; 

Veterans living abroad who rely on the Foreign Medical Program;

Spouses of veterans; and

CHAMPVA recipients (spouses or children of permanently and totally disabled veterans or of veterans who have died from service-connected disabilities).

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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