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Gold Star family members might finally see an end to the so-called "Widows Tax" thanks to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020.
The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would allow service members to seek compensation when military doctors make mistakes that harm them, but they would still be unable to file medical malpractice lawsuits against the federal government.
On Monday night, Congress announced that it had finalized the NDAA, which must be passed by the House and Senate before going to President Donald Trump. If the president signs the NDAA into law, it would mark the first time in nearly seven decades that U.S. military personnel have had legal recourse to seek payment from the military in cases of medical malpractice.
Dying of cancer, this Green Beret has one last mission: Getting Congress to fight for military medical malpractice reform
"You think you're limited on time? You ought to talk to me about limited time."
Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal is dying.
The 38-year-old Green Beret's cancer was missed by Army care providers in 2017, and is now terminal. For the last year he's been fighting to change a decades-old legal rule known as the Feres Doctrine, which bars Stayskal and his family from suing the government for the alleged medical malpractice.
That's why, on Sept. 9 and 10, instead of being home in Pinehurst, North Carolina, with his wife and two daughters, Stayskal was in Washington, D.C. trying to drum up support for his namesake legislation, the SFC Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act, which would allow service members to sue the government for certain medical malpractice incidents.
Over two days, Stayskal and his attorney, Natalie Khawam, visited the offices of eight senators — Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Neely Kennedy (R-La.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
They had face time with none of them.
On Tuesday Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) introduced bipartisan legislation that would allow service members to sue the government for military medical malpractice.
At the eleventh hour before it recessed for the summer, the Senate finally got around to some real business: passing a sweeping GI Bill upgrade that extends benefits to more veterans and gives them more time to use those bennies.