With Time Running Out, Veteran Advocates Rally for Bipartisan Dole Act

With Time Running Out, Veteran Advocates Rally for Bipartisan Dole Act
Former Sen. Elizabeth Dole speaks during a June 25 press event in Washington, D.C., on behalf of comprehensive legislation bearing her name designed to support veterans and their caregivers. She was joined at the event by representatives from multiple veterans groups, including Cmdr. René Campos, USN (Ret), MOAA's senior director of Government Relations, far left. (Photo by Mike Morones/MOAA)

By MOAA Staff


Bipartisan, comprehensive legislation designed to help generations of veterans and their caregivers has reached a critical point in the legislative process, prompting MOAA to join with fellow veteran advocacy groups June 25 in Washington, D.C., for a press event designed to keep the bill moving forward.


The Senator Elizabeth Dole 21st Century Healthcare and Benefits Improvement Act addresses a long list of MOAA’s legislative priorities, covering everything from assisted living services to caregiver benefit access to home-based care. The 315-page bill has the backing of dozens of advocacy groups, many of which took part in the June 25 event organized by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.


[TAKE ACTION: Support This Wide-Ranging Plan to Improve Veterans’ Care]



“The bill has earned champions on both sides of the aisle and the impassioned support of a united veterans community,” the bill’s namesake, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, said at the press event. “I’m truly honored that this legislation bears my name, but I’m even more grateful for the life-changing and life-saving measures it will bring to those who served their nation, and their caregivers.”


Advocates hoped the bipartisan bill would move to the House floor before Memorial Day, allowing it to clear key hurdles before summer vacations and other legislative priorities began narrowing the window for final passage. More than two dozen groups, including MOAA, sent a May 24 letter to House and Senate leaders encouraging them to enact the bill before the July 4 holiday.


Some key provisions in the legislation:

  • Authorization of a VA pilot program to provide assisted living services to eligible veterans.
  • Improved support for family caregivers, along with expanded home- and community-based veteran services.
  • “Whole health” benefit improvements, allowing coverage of more services to ensure veterans can access the care they need. One example: Expansion of VA dental benefits to veterans with heart disease.
  • Expanded mobile mammography services. 
  • Improvements to suicide prevention programs and expansions to mental health benefits.
  • Improve benefits for military survivors.
  • VA organizational support, to include more flexibility in staff compensation and greater oversight of the Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) program and other technology systems.
  • Expansion of outreach and promotion of basic benefits and eligibility information.


“The urgency of this legislation cannot be understated,” said Cmdr. René Campos, USN (Ret), MOAA’s senior director of Government Relations, prior to the event. “Offsets for the bill have been identified, now it is time for Congress to act and fulfill its sacred promise to care for those who served in our nation’s military and for their families, caregivers and survivors. Veterans and their families rely on these lifegiving and lifesaving provisions in this bill.”


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MOAA and fellow veteran advocacy groups have worked with both parties in both legislative chambers to craft this bipartisan legislation. If Congress does not act soon, that work will need to restart as part of the new legislative session in 2025 – an unacceptable delay for the veterans (and caregivers) who deserve the benefits they’ve earned.


“I don’t see how we can truly care for our veterans community if we wait another day to get [the bill] passed,” Dole said. “For all those who have served and all those considering service in the future, this is our moment to show that we can put politics aside, even when it’s an election year, and come together to perform our most noble responsibility: To care for all who have borne the battle.”


Reach out to your lawmakers today and ask them to support these significant improvements to comprehensive VA care and benefits before time runs out.


lifelong-caregiving-logo-h.pngTips for Lifelong Caregiving

MOAA has partnered with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to provide an online resource outlining legal and financial support available to multiple generations of caregivers.

Learn More