Spending: $33.4 billion, up 2.7 percent
The president’s plan would raise medical care spending from $21.6 billion to $22.4 billion, as well as upping funding by $240 million on inpatient care for veterans with problems related to mental illness, including alcohol and drug use.
After four years of increases in the agency’s budget, Mr. Bush wants veterans to start picking up more of the tab. He asks veterans who have the highest incomes among those seeking VA health care and who do not have service-connected illnesses or injuries to pay a $250 annual fee. Mr. Bush also wants to increase prescription drug co-payments for such veterans from $7 to $15 for a 30-day drug supply. More than 2 million veterans could be affected.
The fees make up much of the increase in medical care spending.
Mr. Bush has made similar requests in previous budgets, only to be soundly rejected by members of Congress. But the environment is different this year with new House and Senate veterans affairs committee chairmen, at least one of whom has been supportive of the president’s efforts to focus resources on certain veterans.
This seems very reasonable to me. Of course, as a service-connected disabled veteran, I wouldn’t have to pay the $250 annual fee. I don’t have co-pays for meds relating to my disability, but I do have the copay for meds that aren’t related such as Flonase. The above points out that more than 2 million veterans could be affected. That’s could be affected. I would believe that most of the wealthier vets, or those without a service-connected illness or disability don’t use the VA system for health care anyway.
Captain Ed has more on this here.