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Representative Young Introduces Series Of Bills To Benefit Veterans

Southeast Alaskas Island News of Thorne Bay, Alaska

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On May 26th Alaskan Congressman Don Young introduced a series of three bills this afternoon, each serving to benefit the veteran community.

H.R. 5402 would amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act to provide for equitable allotment of lands to Alaska Native veterans. Approximately 2,800 Alaska Natives served in the military during the Vietnam conflict and many did not have an opportunity to apply for their native allotment.

"Close to 3,000 courageous Alaskan Natives served our country in a time of crisis during the Vietnam War," stated Representative Young. "HR 5402 will increase the available land by authorizing Alaska Native Vietnam veterans to apply for land that is federally owned & vacant. My Alaska Native Vietnam veterans should not be deprived their rightful opportunity to apply for their native allotment and this bill seeks to correct that."

HR 5403 would create a 2 year-pilot program in Alaska to link TRICARE with VA rates, and requires a report to Congress on the program.

"The current link of TRICARE to Medicare rates has caused a lot of problems because of its volatility," said Representative Young. "VA Reimbursement rates are higher and are more stable than Medicare rates, and those are the rates at which our veterans should be reimbursed. Congress has a responsibility to ensure that promises made to our veterans & active duty personnel are kept and that includes better access to quality healthcare."

H.R. 5404 would allow the dependents of guardsmen and reservists who retired before the age of 60 to fly space available on military aircraft.

"Currently if a guardsman or reservist retires before the age of 60, their dependents cannot fly space available on military aircraft," said Representative Young. "With a large number of guardsmen and reservists serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, this is a good way to show our support and appreciation for the men and women of our Armed Forces and the families that support them and support this country with all they have."

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Original Publication Date: June 7, 2010

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