Letters to the Editor

Brian Richards | Hill Not Taking Care of Veterans

Recently the House of Representatives passed a bill, H.R. 3525, by a vote of 230 to 184. This is bill titled “U.S. Border Patrol Medical Screenings Act” and, according to congress.gov, the act would direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to (1) research and report to Congress new approaches to improve procedures for providing medical screening of individuals interdicted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection between ports of entry, and recommend any necessary corrective actions, and (2) establish an electronic health record system containing the records of individuals in DHS custody that can be accessed by all relevant DHS departments. 

In other words, the bill would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish an EHR system, electronic health records, for all illegal border crossers, in just 30 days. 

Republicans put forth an amendment to the bill reflecting their support IF veterans were put first as to item No. 2 in establishing an electronic health record database for all current military members and veterans. Apparently this has not yet been done for current service members and veterans, and Republicans argued, rightly in my opinion, that current and former members of our military should have priority first before establishing such a database for illegal immigrants. 

If passed, the amendment would establish an electronic health record system that would allow health professionals all over the world treating current and former members of the military to easily access health records. Why this hasn’t been done already is beyond me, but that’s another story. The vote to the amendment was titled Roll Call 551 and the amendment was defeated 202-213. Sixteen Democrats voted in favor of the amendment but one in particular did not. Our very own Rep. Katie Hill voted against the amendment to establish an electronic health record database for our veterans before establishing it for people who are here illegally. Congresswoman Hill repeatedly claims to support veterans, but apparently that support is conditional when contrasted with the needs of non-citizens in this country illegally. 

I include the following in support:

A summary of the original bill: www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/3525

A summary of the roll call vote to the amendment putting veterans and current service members first: clerk.house.gov/evs/2019/roll551.xml

Brian Richards

Stevenson Ranch

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