Members of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee and veterans organizations launched a push for mandatory funding of veterans' health programs in support of a bill introduced earlier this month by Rep. Lane Evans (D-Ill.) Under the legislation, funding for veterans' health programs in fiscal 2005 would equal 130% of the fiscal 2003 funding obligation of $23.8 billion. After 2005, funding would be based on the number of enrollees in veterans' health programs and the percentage increase in the consumer price index for hospital and related services. The cost of the bill is estimated at $197 billion over the first 10 years. Earlier this month, a task force cited a "growing mismatch between funding and demand" in veterans' healthcare. Funding shortfalls have forced the VA to cut healthcare services and leave positions unfilled, congressmen said today at a press conference. -- by Tony Fong
Bill would set funding for VA health programs
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