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New Veterans Health Care Bill On the Books

A grey area of funding gained clarity last week when President Obama signed into law a measure that will ensure a steady budget for veterans' health care.  The Veterans Health Care and Budget Reform and Transparency Act will ensure "sufficient and predictable" annual funding for veterans health care.  Government spending for the Veterans Affairs Department up to this point has been subject to budget approval debates, resulting in funding delays.  In fact, for 20 of the past 23 years, Congressional approval of veterans health care budget has been late.

The Veterans Affairs Department [VA] provides health care for over 23 million American veterans.  According to President Obama, the new measure will ensure more predictable and stable funding and "promotes accountability at the VA[,]ensures oversight by Congress [and is] fiscally responsible by not adding a dime to the deficit..."

How will the new bill ensure timely funding?

The bill will provide veterans health care funding one year in advance, taking it out of the purview of congressional budget debates.  It will mean a little extra pre-planning for the Veterans Affairs Department...The VA will be required to submit an estimate of budget needs to the Government Accountability office prior for review.  Upon approval, the review will be made public.

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