VA CHAIRMAN BUYER SEEKS RESOLVE ON VA BUDGET SHORTFALL

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VA CHAIRMAN BUYER SEEKS RESOLVE ON VA BUDGET SHORTFALL 

Washington, D.C. At a hearing of the full committee, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Buyer (R-IN) sought answers from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regarding its request for an additional $1.9 billion for FY 06 to fund higher-than-expected veteran’s health care needs.  

The past three weeks have exposed basic flaws in VA’s budgetary processflaws which caused a  shortfall of almost three billion dollars. Congress has already acted once to ensure that the VA has the funding it needs to successfully carry out its important mission, Chairman Buyer said. We will act again.

On the 75th anniversary of the VA, let us move forward, with a firm resolve to ensure that our veterans and their families know that the VA has every dime it needs to provide the best health care and services possible.  To do any less is unacceptable, Buyer added. …..

 

     

The proposed FY 2006 budget amendment (submitted by the Administration on July 14th) includes:

$300 million to replenish carry-over funds to be expended in FY 2005 to cover the increase in average cost per patient;

$677 million to cover an estimated additional 2 percent increase in the number of patients expected to seek care in FY 2006; 

$400 million increase in recognition of the expected cost of providing more costly treatment; and 

$600 million to correct for the estimated cost of long term care.

At the close of the hearing, Chairman Buyer tasked the VA to look inwardly at its personnel make-up to press for necessary changes and asked members of the Committee to continue to monitor the FY07 budgetary process to ensure that the VA changes its methodology and assumptions so that the mistakes of FY05 and 06 are not made again.

In the wake of allegations made that soldiers returning home from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are denied access to care, and the VA’s own testimony to the contrary, Chairman Buyer announced his intention to travel to a VA polytrauma rehabilitation center during the upcoming recess.

More information about hearings, legislation, and other activities of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs can be found on our award-winning Website: www.veterans.house.gov

 

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