HOUSE COMMITTEE ON

 VETERANS' AFFAIRS

 

 

February 3, 2005   Hearing Room C

8:30 A.M.   Tapes 15 - 16

(corrected 07/28/05)

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. Donna Nelson, Chair

Rep. Phil Barnhart, Vice-Chair

Rep. Brian Boquist

Rep. Scott Bruun

Rep. Dave Hunt

Rep. Betty Komp

 

MEMBERS EXCUSED:             Rep. Debi Farr, Vice-Chair

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Jim Stembridge, Committee Administrator

Erin Seiler, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD:        

Veterans’ Issues - Informational Meeting

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 15, A

002

Chair Nelson

Opens the meeting at 8:37 a.m. Opens the informational meeting on Veterans’ Issues.

VETERANS’ ISSUES - INFORMATIONAL MEETING

016

Frank Freyer

Legislative Liaison, Oregon County Veterans’ Service Officers Association (OCVSOA). Submits and summarizes written testimony regarding his history as a County Veterans’ Service Officers (CVSO) (EXHIBIT A).

051

Freyer

Submits and summarizes financial spreadsheet for the CVSO Pilot Project (EXHIBIT B). Discusses the month-by-month costs and savings associated with moving a veteran receiving state-funded Medicaid benefits to federally-funded Veterans’ Benefits.

095

Freyer

Explains the financial significance of identifying and removing veterans from Medicaid rolls and getting them Veterans’ Benefits.

130

Freyer

Reviews the administration and distribution of Veterans’ Benefits, which are based on mental and physical status.

186

Chair Nelson

Asks if the Veterans’ Administration (VA) requires a veteran receiving long-term care at an uncontracted nursing home to move to a facility that does have a contract with the VA when their benefits are switched from state Medicaid to Veterans’ Benefits.  

199

Freyer

States that the VA does not require a veteran to leave a facility. Explains that, rather then the state paying the care facility directly, the veteran will pay the care facility because the VA pays Veterans’ Benefits directly to the veteran.

213

Rep. Barnhart

Verifies that the veteran has the right to manage their own care and remain in care facility of choice.

253

Freyer

Explains that the VA does not contract with specific nursing homes, the VA will contract with any state accredited nursing home.

261

Freyer

States that if a veteran is in a nursing home that is not accredited by the state the VA will still pay for a veteran remain at that facility, but only after the VA has inspected it.

272

Freyer

Explains the difference between pension benefits and service-connected disability benefits.

296

Chair Nelson

Asks if a veteran will be removed from a care facility if benefits switch from Medicaid to VA benefits.

307

Freyer

Explains that a veteran does not lose Medicaid benefits if they receive VA benefits for a service-connected disability.

350

Freyer

States that there is no reason to be moving anybody from anywhere because it is simply just a shifting of funding from the state Medicaid system to the federal VA system.  

381

Freyer

Discusses the difference between service-connected benefits and pension benefits.

TAPE 16, A

021

Chair Nelson

Asks if there are any disadvantages to moving a veteran from Medicaid to VA benefits.

024

Freyer

Responds that are not any disadvantages to making these changes. Speaks to how a service-connected medical disability can be brought up at anytime.

059

Freyer

Speaks to how, under VA benefits, all medicine and durable medical equipment are free and easily attainable.  

101

Kevin O’Reilly

Government Relations/Advocacy Director, Oregon Paralyzed Veterans’. States that the VA holds contracts with several durable medical equipment providers, affording them a better price.

118

Rep. Boquist

Asks what statutory changes need to be addressed.

145

Freyer

Speaks to the need to fully fund CVSO.

219

Mac MacDonald

Representative, Veterans’ Organizations. Discusses the negative impact of the 2000 Millennium bill.

240

Jim Stembridge

Committee Administrator. Submits list of Veterans’ Committee bill proposals (EXHIBIT C).

244

Chair Nelson

Reviews Veterans’ concepts in the process of being drafted by legislative counsel (EXHIBIT C, Page 1).

339

Rep. Boquist

Explains a referendum being drafted to establish permanent funding for County Veteran Service Officers. 

TAPE 15, B

010

Nelson

Presents concepts for House Veterans’ bills (EXHIBIT C, Page 2).

090

Rep. Boquist

Explains that a proposal for establishing a retroactive life insurance and death gratuity fund for National Guard has been announced in the U.S Congress.

104

MacDonald

Discusses why all Oregon veterans and soldiers need to be included in all programs and benefits packages.

147

Rep. Bruun

Expresses concern about the burden placed on local governments regarding proposal for an increase in the property tax exemption for veterans. Asks if such a tax exemption should be on state income tax.

158

Rep. Boquist

States that rather than tax exemption, an interest-free property tax deferment should be considered for deployed soldiers.

210

Chair Nelson

Continues reviewing list of veterans’ issues that could be drafted House bills (EXHIBIT C, Page 2).

278

Freyer

Addresses the ability to fund unemployed spouse/guardian of disabled veteran living allowance while caring for veterans.

320

Chair Nelson

Discusses the feasibility of requiring colleges to give two years free tuition to full-time veteran or veteran’s widow.

342

Stembridge

Submits written testimony on behalf of Lori Sattenspiel regarding free tuition at community colleges (EXHIBIT D).

360

Rep. Boquist

Explains that there is not a shortage of educational funds from the National Guard and growing amount of educational funds from the federal government.  

TAPE 16, B

020

Chair Nelson

Speaks to the remainder of bill concepts including the funding of

Oregon Veterans’ Home and fund for guard license plates

(EXHIBIT C, Page 3).

072

Rep. Hunt

Announces several ideas for bills and several legislative concepts in the

process of being drafted by legislative counsel. Expresses concern with regards to

cost of many of the proposals and that it would be judicious to

identify potential sources of funding prior to drafting.

118

Chair Nelson

Discusses proposals for joint memorials (EXHIBIT C, Page 4).

199

Chair Nelson

Discusses proposals for joint resolutions (EXHIBIT C, Page 5).

259

Chair Nelson

Closes the informational meeting on Veterans’ Issues.

Adjourns the committee meeting at 10:15 a.m.

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. Veterans’ Issues, written testimony, Frank Freyer, 1 p
  2. Veterans’ Issues, Pilot Project Spreadsheet, Frank Freyer, 2 pp
  3. Veterans’ Issues, Committee Bill Proposals Report, staff, 5 pp
  4. Veterans’ Issues, written testimony of Lori Sattenspiel, staff, 1 p