Of the 22 million veterans in the United States, fewer than half of them receive health care through the VA system. Some don’t qualify for VA services and others live too far from a VA facility to receive care there.
Many rely instead on Medicaid. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia expanded their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, and many people who gained coverage as a result are veterans. The recently proposed GOP health bill will roll back all expansion funding between 2021 and 2024.
Before the impact of the bill on veterans is fully known, states will have to decide whether to make up the lost federal funding, to restrict those who can receive Medicaid coverage, or to limit benefits.
The Urban Institute found that within the first two years after the Affordable Care Act became law, the number of uninsured veterans dropped by 44 percent, and the total went from 980,000 to 552,000 veterans under the age of 65 who were covered by the Medicaid expansion.