This will be the sixth time I have written about VA funding, or perhaps I should say written about the lack thereof. However, HR 1382, which was introduced in to the US House on March 7, 2007, when it becomes law (I can only hope) will provide assured adequate levels of funding for veterans health care - finally. Oh well, there are many other topics.
My Five That Have Come Before
I first mentioned VA Funding in, "Veterans Health Care: Call the Funding What You May, Just Do It" (
), where I also mentioned that nearly 90 percent of all federal health care spending is mandatory or assured funding. Only Native American, active duty military, and veteran health care are discretionary or require annual appropriations at the discretion of Congress.
In "Legislative Alert: VA Health Care Funding Needs Your Help Now" (
), I provided a sample email for you to send to your Representative and Senators regarding the lack of action by the 109th Congress when they adjourned without providing any 2007 VA Health Care funding.
"VA Health Care Budget Score: Veterans Zero... So What Else Is New" (
) provided how the lack of spending bill passage by the 109th Congress meant the VA would not be able to make use of all the funds targeted for heath care needs once the funds were made available in February 2007, and why this was so.
"Support Full Funding For VA Health Care: Put Your Money Where Your Promises Were" (
) reminded us all:
WHEREAS, the Department of Veterans Affairs mission and motto is, "To care for him who has borne the battle, and for his widow and orphan"; and WHEREAS, President George Washington stated, "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportionate to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their country."
Finally, "Let Priority Group 8 Veterans Into the VA System: As It Was Always Intended" (
) explained that according to a recent Congressional Research Service report, if the enrollment freeze was lifted, approximately 273,000 Priority Group 8 veterans would have been eligible to receive medical care from VA in FY2006, with an additional 242,000 Priority Group 8 veterans eligible in FY2007. And that by some estimates, the total number of Priority Group 8 veterans who have been denied access to their promised VA health benefits since the January 2003 enrollment "freeze" was over 1,000,000 veterans. All this because instead of confronting the VA's shortfall head on by asking for the resources necessary to address them, promised health care to a group of veterans of modest means was deliberately cut off.
On What I Speak of Today
HR 1382: To provide for an assured adequate level of funding for veterans health care. This bill is sponsor by Representative John R. "Randy" Kuhl, Jr. (NY-29) was introduced on March 7, 2007, and is (so far) cosponsored by Rep Thaddeus G. McCotter (MI-11) - 4/30/2007, and Rep Todd Russell Platts, (PA-19) - 3/20/2007.
HR 1382 allows for this by requiring that each fiscal year, the Secretary of the Treasury makes available to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs an amount equal to the "per capita baseline amount" (2006, as adjusted) increased as the Consumer Price Index increases, and adjusted for increases in and consideration for... the number of previously enrolled veterans and those veterans now eligible and who received hospital care or medical services, currently.
And What You Can Do
Contact your Representative and let them know you want them to cosponsor HR 1382.
Contact your Senators and let them know you expect the Senate to work on their own bill and to work with the House to make the "Mandatory Funding for Veterans Act of 2007" into law.
To contact your Representative go to "Write Your Representative" (
), fill in your state and zip code, and follow the instructions.
To contact our Senators, fill out the Web Forms for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (
) and Senator Charles E. Schumer (
And if you should send this to someone not in New York, to contact their Senators they should go to "Senators of the 110th Congress" (
), select their state, and fill in the "Web Form" for both of their Senators.
--- Regards, Walt Schmidt