WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCBD) – On Friday, Representatives Joe Cunningham (D-SC) and Steven Palazzo (R-MS) brought before the House the Support Our National Guard Act, which “would provide transitional health care benefits to National Guard service members who have aided the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic under Title 32 502(f) orders.” Similar bipartisan legislation was recently put forth in the Senate.
The representatives reference the over 45,000 National Guard service members actively supporting state and federal efforts to combat COVID-19, over 1,000 of whom have been infected.
Currently, those activated in response to COVID-19 are not covered by the Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP), which provides members serving on “federally funded duty orders…six months of transitional TRICARE coverage after they are demobilized.” Under the proposed legislation, the Defense Department would be required to extend TAMP coverage “to any National Guard service member activated to support the government response to the pandemic.”
Cunningham said that the SC National Guard “has provided…indispensable help establishing provisional hospitals, feeding members of their community, and ensuring hospitals receive essential personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies,” all at great risk to their own personal health. He continued, saying that “this common-sense bill ensures that they continue to receive critical health care coverage when they return home to their families.”
The National Guard Association of the United States endorsed the legislation.