Support including S.3713 and H.R.6967 within Supplemental Coronavirus Legislation
NGAI and NGAUS strongly support S.3713 and H.R.6967, the Support Our National Guard Act. This legislation would provide transitional healthcare benefits to National Guard servicemembers who have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic under Title 32 orders.
S.3713 is sponsored by Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joni Ernst of Iowa. H.R.6967 is sponsored by Reps. Joe Cunningham of South Carolina and Steven Palazzo of Mississippi.
As of May 26, more than 45,000 members of the National Guard across all 54 states and territories have been activated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While most soldiers and airmen are currently serving on federal Title 32 orders responding to a federally-declared national emergency, under current law they will not receive federal post-deployment transitional health care coverage.
The Support Our National Guard Act would require the Secretary of Defense to provide National Guard servicemembers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with six months of post-deployment health care. These transition benefits will ensure Guardsmen do not experience a lapse in healthcare coverage after their Title 32 deployment ends and would ensure treatment of medical issues arising from their service.
It is critical to provide this coverage because Guardsmen are responding on the front lines of a health emergency, often in direct contact with the COVID-19 virus when staffing testing sites, transporting testing materials, and assisting in disinfecting care facilities. National Guard servicemembers deserve full federal support during this time, including directly after their mission is complete and they are able to return to their families.