WASHINGTON - Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., planned to introduce bipartisan legislation Thursday designed to protect veterans from erroneous and untimely billing practices by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The legislation would give the VA flexibility to waive co-payment requirements for veterans if the VA erred by sending bills in an untimely manner, a Klobuchar press release said.

Kline and Klobuchar's legislation is in response to frustration and confusion caused by the VA when it billed Minnesota and Wisconsin veterans this summer for health care received up to five years ago. The bill is intended to hold the VA accountable, reform bureaucracy, and restore faith to our veterans that they will receive the care they were promised without getting stuck with unexpected and unbudgeted bills.

"I've always believed that when we ask our young men and women to defend and fight for our country, we make a solemn promise to take care of them when they return home," said Klobuchar. "The Minnesota and Wisconsin veterans who sought care at the VA in good faith should not be saddled with unplanned bills that stretch back years. I am proud to lead this bipartisan effort with Congressman Kline to give our veterans the peace of mind and relief they deserve."

The legislation aims to:

• Give the Secretary of Veterans Affairs the authority to waive a co-payment requirement if the VA erred in not sending out the bill in a timely manner; and

• Require the VA to inform veterans of their rights to payment plans and waivers if the VA does not meet billing timelines based on the veteran's mode of care.