Federal bill could help Maine veterans if passed

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Maine (WABI) - A new federal bill could have major benefits for veterans in Maine.

If passed, the law will require the Veterans Administration to pay medical expense to hospitals in a timely manner.

This helps rural hospitals who cannot afford health care specific to veterans.

In turn, veterans will not have to travel as far to receive treatment.

“This allows them to get health care where they live rather than have to travel 4, or 5, or maybe 6 hours, or an overnight visit to go down to Togus where we get good health care, but it's just not handy,” said Doug Damon of the American Legion Post in Bangor.

“The health of our rural hospitals is critically important to sustain our rural economies and the Veterans Administration paying those bills on time will help those hospitals stay financially viable,” said Lisa Harvey-McPherson of Eastern Maine Health Care Systems.

The measure passed in the House Wednesday night. Both of Maine's representatives, Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree voted for it.