By CATHY BUSSEWITZ
HONOLULU (AP) - A new bill has been introduced in Congress that aims to offer relief to veterans that have had to pay for emergency health services.
Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Republican Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas co-sponsored the bill on Thursday.
The proposal would eliminate a rule that prevents veterans from being reimbursed for emergency care if they haven't been seen in a VA center for 24 months.
The bill comes after a different Senate bill was approved Wednesday that makes it easier for veterans delayed in getting initial visits to receive VA-paid treatment from local doctors instead.
Hirono says veterans shouldn't be penalized because they live in rural communities or face outrageous wait times for appointments.
Moran says veterans shouldn't bear the burden of a dysfunctional VA system.