Sen. Patty Murray says she is mystified why Republicans continue to block her efforts to overturn a ban -- in place since 1992 -- on providing in-vitro fertilization for veterans. Asked by Seattle Weekly this morning whether it is for economic reasons (the procedure can cost more than $12,000 per round of treatment) or for some kind of moral issue, Murray replies, “You’ve just touched on the million-dollar question. I can’t get any answers. You’d think they’d see this as an all-American family issue.”
The Veterans Administration bans the advanced fertility treatment under any circumstances. In comparison, 15 states require private insurers to cover IVF, and a number of plans in other states also cover it.
The wives of severely injured veterans’ wives have been laboring for more than seven years to change the VA policy, making calls and writing letters to Congress – and they have gotten the attention of Sen. Murray, D-Wash., who in 2012 first introduced legislation to stop the ban on IVF coverage at the VA.
Murray, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said Republicans in the Senate have stripped the provision that she included in the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Pay Restoration Act of 2014, introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont.
The Washington Democrat denounced the move, saying Wednesday, “I’m stunned that Senate Republicans are indicating that they will not join us in overturning this absurd and antiquated ban,. The catastrophic wounds we have seen from injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan have meant that our veterans’ dreams to start a family have been put on hold because of the tremendous cost of IVF services. We believe that’s a cost of war that the VA absolutely should cover, and that it’s unacceptable to let politics stand in the way.”