Sen. Coleman Introduces Bill To Compensate Families of HIV-Positive Veterans Infected Through Service-Related Blood Transfusions
Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) on Tuesday introduced a bill (S 1509) to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee that would provide compensation to the families of military veterans who became HIV-positive through military service-related blood transfusions, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Under the bill, every family member infected with HIV as a result of a veteran's service-related blood transfusion would receive a $100,000 benefit (Hotakainen, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 3/10). The Veterans Affairs Administration estimates that approximately 2,800 veterans have contracted HIV through service-related blood transfusions, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Webb, St. Paul Pioneer Press, 3/10). "The VA treats AIDS like other service-connected health conditions," Coleman said, adding, "However, in an important way, AIDS is not like other service-connected illnesses. AIDS can be directly transmitted to spouses and unborn children of the service members" (AP/Kansas City Star, 3/9). Coleman's aides said that the bill has a "good chance" of passing, according to the Star Tribune. Committee Chair Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said that he would "be inclined" to support the measure, but he is withholding final support for the measure until its costs are determined, the Star Tribune reports (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 3/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.