VETERANS’ HEALTH: House Greenlights $1.7B Increase
A $1.7 billion increase over the administration's earmark for veterans' health care spending moved closer to reality Thursday night, as the House passed the Veterans Administration/Housing and Urban Development spending bill (HR 2684), on a vote of 235- 187. House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Bob Stump (R-AZ) said, "We told veterans last February we were committed to saving VA health care from the disastrous Clinton-Gore budget. Passage of the largest VA health care spending increase in history fulfills that commitment and keeps faith with veterans. If this becomes law, combined with other pending legislative measures, it will make this the most pro-veteran Congress in recent memory. The VA will have the tools to answer the health care needs of an aging veterans' population as we approach a new century." He said enactment of the measure would spare the VA from laying off 8,500 employees and closing community-based clinics. The funding would instead allow the agency to open new outpatient clinics to treat 200,000 more veterans, provide emergency care for uninsured veterans and fund testing and treatment for hepatitis C. He said, "The impact of this bill would be magnified even more if we also pass HR 2116, the Veterans' Millennium Health Care Act. That would allow VA to stretch the $1.7 billion increase farther while improving the VA health care system in general" (House Committee on Veterans' Affairs release, 9/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.