President Joe Biden on Monday signed a bipartisan legislation extending healthcare benefits to Korean veterans who served the U.S. during the Vietnam War and later became naturalized U.S. citizens.
About the Law: The Korean American Vietnam Allies Long Overdue for Relief Act, or simply the Korean American VALOR Act, provides some 3,000 Korean American Vietnam War veterans access to healthcare benefits though the Department of Veterans Affairs. South Korea will reimburse the U.S. for these services, while the U.S. will reciprocate by reimbursing South Korea for healthcare it provides to U.S. armed forces living there.
Why it matters: The Korean American VALOR Act ensures that Korean American veterans of the Vietnam War receive the healthcare benefits they rightfully deserve. It addresses a longstanding gap in healthcare coverage and acknowledges their service and commitment alongside U.S. troops.
What the sponsors are saying: Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) first introduced the bill in the House of Representatives in January. Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced a Senate version of the bill in July.
The House bill passed in May, while the Senate version passed last month before heading to Biden’s desk.
“Today, the United States is a step closer to ensuring every veteran can receive the care and services they have rightfully earned,” Takano said in a statement
. “Heroes who served alongside our military in Vietnam now qualify for the same benefits as their American counterparts.”
“Thanks to the Korean American VALOR Act, approximately 3,000 Korean American veterans in Hawaii and across the country will be able to access medical services through the VA. I am glad our bill has passed the Senate and will soon be signed into law, to help ensure our veterans have access to the quality VA healthcare they need and deserve,” Hirono said in October.
Braun said, “This legislation guarantees that the men and women who bravely fought alongside U.S. troops and have become American citizens will have access to the care and benefits they deserve, paid for by the South Korean government.”