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Carter's Veterans Transplant Coverage Act Signed into Law

(Washington, DC) – Today, President Donald Trump signed Congressman John Carter’s (TX-31) legislation, the Veterans Transplant Coverage Act into law, as part of the VA Mission Act. The Veterans Transplant Coverage Act requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide organ transplants to veterans from a live donor, regardless of whether or not that donor is a veteran.

Prior to Congressman Carter’s legislation, the Department of Veterans Affairs  excluded non-veteran live donations from coverage under the VA Choice Program and forced veterans to receive their transplants at specific VA treatment facilities.  For most veterans, however, these facilities are many states away. Representative Carter’s legislation also directs the VA to allow these organ transplant operations in the facility of a veteran’s choice.

“Today marks a brighter future for America’s heroes. The VA Mission Act will greatly improve health care for our veterans, and my language within the legislation will ensure that no other veteran is ever denied life-saving transplant coverage because their organ donor is not a veteran,” Congressman Carter said. “This legislation is for Charles Nelson and his family, the 84,000 veterans in Texas’ 31st Congressional District, and the 22 million nationwide. Our veterans deserve to receive the health care they need without wading through bureaucratic red tape.” 

Background: Congressman Carter’s Veterans Transplant Coverage Act was inspired by the heartbreaking story of Charles Nelson, a 100% service connected disabled veteran from Leander, Texas. In 2016, Charles was in need of a kidney transplant, and his son, Coty, was a match donor. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs denied coverage for the surgery because Coty was not a veteran. The Nelson family was forced to fundraise and use Medicare coverage to complete Charles’ operation.

 

Congressman Carter visits with the Nelson family.

From left to right: Coty Nelson, Rep. John Carter, Tamara Nelson, and Charles Nelson

When Congressman Carter heard Charles’ story, he immediately introduced the Veterans Transplant Coverage Act, which passed the House in November 2017. Congressman Carter’s Veterans Transplant Coverage Act was included in the VA Mission Act for final passage and now ensures that no other veteran will have to experience what the Nelson family endured. 

Rep. Carter represents Texas District 31, which includes Fort Hood, the largest active duty armored military installation in the free world. He serves as co-chairman of the Congressional Army Caucus and Chairman of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Appropriations.

 

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