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Santa Barbara congressman introduces plan to close health insurance gap for military members leaving the service

VA Photo

Bill calls for allowing those leaving the military to apply for VA health coverage before leaving service, instead of after. It would close a gap in coverage.

A Santa Barbara congressman is co-author of a new bill intended to help close the health care gap between when military service members are discharged, and when they can enroll in veterans programs.

The law currently prohibits service members from applying for VA healthcare until they actually receive their official separation documents.

The bipartisan legislation is intended to make the transition from service member to civilian smoother. It would create a three year pilot program which would allow people leaving the military to opt into VA care 180 days before their official separation date.

Democratic Congressman Salud Carbajal of Santa Barbara teamed up with three other House members to co-author the legislation.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.