December 17, 2012 — The Senate on Thursday approved by voice vote a bill (S 3313) that would expand the Department of Veterans Affairs health coverage to include infertility treatments for veterans with combat-related injuries to their reproductive organs and their spouses, the AP/Miami Herald reports. There were no dissenting votes (Freking, AP/Miami Herald, 12/13).
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), authorizes VA to cover in vitro fertilization and other assisted reproductive technologies. Since 2003, more than 1,830 veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq sustained pelvic or genital injuries that could affect their fertility, according to Department of Defense figures released by Murray's office (Women's Health Policy Report, 9/14).
According to the AP/Herald, the legislation is estimated to cost $568 million over five years, which will be funded by savings from the scaling down of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Supporters of the bill said the Senate's approval increases the likelihood that it will become law before Congress adjourns. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash) is sponsoring a companion measure in the House (AP/Miami Herald, 12/13).