By Gabriel Rom
State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) has come out in support of legislation that would provide New York veterans with insurance coverage for artificial limbs and other prosthetics they may require after being seriously injured in military service.
A number of American military veterans who have fought in Iraq and other war-torn areas have lost limbs and come home with other serious injuries, said Addabbo who is the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs.
Addabbo will be co-sponsoring the bill when the new legislative session begins in Albany in January. The bill has already been approved by the state Senate, but the state Assembly must also pass the same version in order for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign the legislation into law.
Addabbo expressed confidence that a compromise can be reached in 2016 to “provide this very necessary helping hand to veterans whose lives have been irrevocably changed by their service and their self-sacrifice.”
A 2015 Congressional Research Service report identified close to 1,650 veterans who had suffered major limb amputations as of June.
Under the legislation, medical and other comprehensive insurance policies would be required to provide insurance coverage for artificial limbs and other prosthetics that are deemed medically necessary for injured servicemen and women.
The injury must have been sustained while the veteran was on active duty, and the coverage would also include the cost of repairing or replacing the prosthetic when it has deteriorated through normal wear and tear; when it no longer properly fits, or when changes in a veteran’s medical condition necessitate its replacement.
“Those who have very literally risked life and limb in an effort to protect our nation and preserve our most deeply held principles of liberty and justice deserve our help as they attempt to recover from their injuries and reintegrate into their families and our society at large,” Addabbo added.
The bill was passed by the Senate in June with Addabbo’s support.
“While we may never be able to make our injured military veterans truly whole again after they have suffered such grievous injuries, we still have an obligation to do everything in our power to help them recover, access rehabilitative services and regain their normal lives and activities as much as possible,” Addabbo said, noting that the need for legislation to provide prosthetics coverage was discussed at a recent Queens legislative breakfast hosted by the Queens County Council VFW.
Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at [email protected]