Veterans Health Care Funding Bill Praised

Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
Thursday, 5 June 2003

Legislation introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Lane Evans (D-Ill.) is a bold step toward providing dependable, stable, and sustained funding for veterans health care, according to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).

The Assured Funding for Veterans Health Care Act of 2003 (H.R. 2318) calls for a fundamental change in the way government funding is provided for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical care system. "This shift in VA health care funding from a discretionary to a mandatory program would guarantee adequate resources to care for sick and disabled veterans," said DAV National Commander Edward R. Heath, Sr.

"Skyrocketing medical costs, decades of inadequate, inflation-eroded appropriations, and increasing demand for medical services have severely hampered timely access to quality health care for our nationís sick and disabled veterans," Commander Heath said.

As the Presidentís Task Force to Improve Health Care Delivery for Our Nationís Veterans recently noted in its final report, there is a significant mismatch in VA between demand and available funding. If left unresolved, the report warns, this imbalance will delay veteransí access to care and could threaten the quality of VA health care.

"The Assured Funding for Veterans Health Care Act would close the gap between funding and demand for veterans health care and eliminate the year-to-year uncertainty about funding levels that has prevented the VA from being able to adequately plan for and meet the constantly growing needs of veterans seeking treatment," Commander Heath said.

Similar legislation already has been introduced in the Senate as the Veterans Health Care Funding Guarantee Act (S. 50).

"Hundreds of thousands of veterans waiting six months or longer to see a doctor and hundreds of thousands more unable to enroll for VA health care because for decades policy makers and politicians in Washington have short-changed the veterans health care system budget," said Commander Heath. "With adequate funding assured, it would no longer be necessary for the VA to curb outreach efforts and ration care to veterans."

It is crucial that guaranteed funding legislation be enacted this year to ensure that all eligible veterans ó including those injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom and the war on terror ó have access to timely, quality health care.

The DAV is asking members of Congress to sign a pledge to actively support and work for the prompt passage of guaranteed mandatory health care funding for our nationís sick and disabled veterans.

The nearly 1.3 million-member Disabled American Veterans, a non-profit organization founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932, represents this nationís disabled veterans. It is dedicated to a single purpose: building better lives for our nationís disabled veterans and their families. For more information, visit the organizationís Web site www.dav.org.

For more information, or to contact Disabled American Veterans (DAV), see their website at: www.dav.org

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