Veterans Health Care Funding Gap Must Be Closed

Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
Friday, 30 May 2003

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) welcomes recommendations of a special presidential task force to improve timely access to health care for our nation's sick and disabled veterans. Especially important is a recommendation to modify the federal budget and appropriations process to ensure full funding for the veterans health care system.

As the President's Task Force to Improve Health Care Delivery for Our Nation's Veterans noted, there is a "mismatch" between demand for health care and the resources available to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to meet that demand.

"The way to address that mismatch is to determine just how much it will cost to take care of every veteran enrolled for health care and guarantee that the full amount will be available to the VA to meet that need," said DAV National Commander Edward R. Heath, Sr. "Anything short of guaranteed full funding will only make the veterans health care crisis worse."

Legislation to close the gap between funding and demand for veterans health care has been introduced in the Senate, and similar legislation is expected to be introduced in the House soon. The Senate measure is the Veterans Health Care Funding Guarantee Act (S. 50).

"It is crucial that this legislation be enacted this year to ensure that all eligible veterans including those injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom and the war on terror have access to timely, quality health care," said DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director David W. Gorman.

"Guaranteed funding would eliminate the year-to-year uncertainty about resources that has prevented the VA from being able to adequately plan for and meet the growing needs of veterans seeking treatment," Mr. Gorman said. "Contrary to what some lawmakers might say, guaranteed funding would not create an individual entitlement to health care, nor would it change the VA's current mission."

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

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