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Monday, September 22, 2008

VA health Care S.3527

Stand Up for Veterans Update
September 22, 2008
New York Times Covers VA Funding Legislation

The Times ran a story this morning ( "Action Is Sought to Ensure Timely Financing for V.A." ) on a bipartisan VA health care funding reform bill introduced yesterday in both the House and Senate. The piece distills why an advance appropriation for VA health care funding is needed. "The legislation would allow Congress to approve the money for veterans' medical care one year in advance. In so doing, it would separate veterans' health care financing from the crush of appropriations and political horse-trading that take place at year's end." The Times story makes clear that the current funding system creates significant delays that have, according to DAV's Joe Violante in the article, "a real impact on services."

The Hill: "Measure would provide predictable care for vets"

An article in The Hill also discusses why an advance appropriation is endorsed by nine VSOs (AMVETS, Blinded Veterans Association, Disabled American Veterans, Jewish War Veterans, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Paralyzed Veterans of America, The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Vietnam Veterans of America). "Political squabbling has delayed VA funding in 13 of the past 14 years - something that has severely hampered the department's ability to plan and manage its healthcare system, according to veterans. Veterans' groups say the change would ensure the agency could better handle the growing number of veterans who depend on the government for medical care."

Historic Legislation on VA Funding Reform Introduced

Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner (D-Calif.) introduced the advance appropriation proposal yesterday. The bill, titled the "Veterans Health Care Budget Reform Act," directs Congress to appropriate funds to the VA in advance of the fiscal year, much the same way it does for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Section 8 housing programs and a number of other federal programs. The nine VSOs who joined together to form the Partnership for Veterans Health Care Budget Reform praised Members for their leadership on this issue. Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairmen Daniel Akaka and Bob Filner also issued statements on the new legislation.

Original cosponsors of S. 3527 include Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), Mary Landrieu (D-La), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), John Thune (R-S.D.), Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), and John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.). Original cosponsors of H.R. 6939 include Congressmen Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Michael Michaud (D-Maine), Phil Hare (D-Ill.), and Timothy J. Walz (D-Minn.).

About the Stand Up for Veterans Initiative
Stand Up for Veterans is an initiative of the Disabled American Veterans, an organization of 1.4 million disabled veterans who are focused on building better lives for disabled veterans and their families. The initiative seeks to find public policy solutions for all veterans, particularly those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, who have incurred devastating injuries and disabilities, including traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological wounds of war. Please visit to learn more about this effort.