Troops may not have to pay for hospital food |

Troops may not have to pay for hospital food

Staff Reports

A provision included in the Iraq appropriations bill approved by the U.S. Senate would change a law that makes wounded troops pay for their own food while they recover in military hospitals.

Sgt. Bill Murwin, 31, of Silver Springs was wounded June 15 after an Iraqi boy threw a grenade into his Humvee. The Lyon County deputy spent four weeks recovering in Maryland’s Bethesda Naval Hospital. On June 26 he was awarded a Purple Heart. On his arrival home, he was handed a $210 bill for food while he was hospitalized.

“Military personnel in Nevada contacted me with their stories of having experienced these outrageous injustices,” Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said of the provision. “We are sending a message to our troops today that they have our full support and I felt these amendments should be included as well.”

At present, military personnel who are hospitalized are expected to reimburse the government $8.10 a day for food.

“When a soldier is wounded in combat, we shouldn’t add insult to injury by making them pay for the hospital food they eat,” he said. “It is a disgrace that a soldier who was wounded in combat lies in a hospital bed worrying about a bill from his own government.”

The bill passed as part of the Senate’s $87 billion Iraq package. A similar package was passed by the U.S. House, but the final bill will have to be worked out in a conference between the two houses.

On Tuesday, the White House threatened to veto the bill if it contains language included by senators that Iraq be required to pay back half of $20.3 billion included for the nation’s rebuilding, according to a Washington Post report.