New VA Fee Seems Certain
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America's Veterans


Armed Forces News reported last week that the Bush administration has proposed to charge Priority 7 and 8 users of the Department of Veterans Affairs health system an annual $250 enrollment fee and hike co-payments on prescription drugs from $7 to $15. Since then, the House and Senate VA committees have endorsed enrollment fees in different ways. The Senate panel, chaired by Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, opted for the $250 annual fee. On the other hand, the House committee, chaired by Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., voted to set the fee for priority 7 enrollees at $230, which would match the enrollment fee of military retirees using Tricare Prime. For priority 8 veterans, Buyer proposed a sliding-scale fee from $230 to $500, based upon individual income levels. Both committees disapprove of the proposed more-than-double jump in prescription drug co-payments.