Today, NPCA, the Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers, and friends will be walking the halls of Congress advocating for the passage of the Sam Farr Peace Corps Enhancement Act. The law is bipartisan and introduced by Republican Representative Poe and Democratic Representative Kennedy. Kennedy is an RPCV and the grandson of Robert Kennedy. To join this effort, please contact your Congressional Delegation. NPCA will help you to do this:http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/cpages/health-justice-day
This is so timely because we can assume that the new Republican health care legislation, introduced in Congress, today, June 22, 2017, will make it more difficult for those of us with pre-existing conditions to access health insurance and thus medical care. If serving PCVs get the best medical care available, they may not arrive home with medical problems. If they do, then the provisions of the Sam Farr Peace Corps Enhancement Act would help guarantee that they receive adequate medical immediately when they return home.
Representative Poe’s office issued a press release about the Sam Farr Peace Corps Enhancement Act. It describes the Act. Here are the main points: http://peacecorpsworldwide.org/new-legislation-introduced-to-improve-health-services-for-peace-corps-volunteers/
- Requires that Peace Corps volunteers have access to a qualified Peace Corps Medical Officer and medical facilities while they are at post;
- Enhances access to health care for returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs) by extending Peace Corps medical coverage from 3 months to 6 months while they wait for coverage through the Department of Labor to take effect;
- Expands and improves provisions of the Kate Puzey Peace Corps’ Volunteer Protection Act to enhance the Peace Corps’ ability to assist and protect volunteers that have experienced sexual assault;
- Increases disability payments for RPCVs that are disabled and unable to work due to service-related conditions; and
- Provides further reforms to improve oversight, management and efficiency of the Peace Corps.
We do not know whom President Trump will appoint as Peace Corps Director. We do know Peace Corps Directors have power to set policy, not change laws. It is critical to make improved health care for PCVs and RPCVs a matter of law, not policy.