WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) praised the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report in the House of Representatives.
“Passing the NDAA is critical to support our men and women in uniform who sacrifice so much to defend our freedoms,” Mullin said. “This bill provides a 3.1 percent pay raise for our troops-the largest in a decade-, repeals the Widow’s Tax, and allows for the construction of a wall at our southern border. I applaud Chairman Adam Smith and Chairman Jim Inhofe for working across the aisle to get a solid bill, the best we could get in the current political environment, across the finish line.”
Mullin also worked to include a provision that provides checks and balances to the military health system. Currently, the Feres Doctrine prevents servicemembers from having their day in court when malpractice by military health care providers unconnected to combat results in severe injury or even death.
The compromise language included in the conference report creates a claims system within the Department of Defense. While service members will still be prohibited from filing medical malpractice claims, the claims system gives DoD a way to investigate medical malpractice and compensate service members. This is the first major change since the Feres Doctrine was created in a 1950 Supreme Court case.
“I want to congratulate SFC Rich Stayskal on all his hard work to ensuring this compromise provision was included in the Conference Report,” Mullin continued. “While this was not the original language I helped introduce, it’s a step in the right direction. Congress and the DoD must continue to work together to ensure our service members receive the highest quality of health care. This is a huge win for our warriors.”
Earlier this year, Mullin introduced H.R. 2422, the Sergeant First Class Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act of 2019, which would allow military servicemembers to sue the DoD for instances of medical malpractice unrelated to their military duties. SFC Stayskal developed terminal lung cancer after being misdiagnosed numerous times in a military health facility.