Lane Evans Bill Seeks Full VA Health Funding
Keep Our Promise to America's Veterans. Cosponsor HR 2318, The Assured Funding for Veterans Health Care Act of 2003

June 23, 2003

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America's Veterans

Dear Colleague:

Thousands of young men and women in uniform are putting their lives on hold and on the line every day in service to our country. When they return home many will find the VA hospitals inaccessible because they are unfairly termed "high income" or Priority 8 veterans (making as little as $25,000 a year). What does it say to those men and women and the next generation of service personnel when the VA closes its doors to them? And this has actually happened. Priority 8 veterans are being told they can no longer enroll for VA health care. Another 150,000 veterans are waiting for an appointment at VA medical facilities.

These problems will only be solved when those of us in Congress decide to make veterans a priority and ensure their health care through mandatory funding. That is why I have introduced HR 2318, the "Assured Funding for Veterans Health Care Act of 2003,E which now has 90 cosponsors. This legislation would create a guaranteed funding stream for veterans¡ health care. In contrast to the current funding process, this new approach would create a predictable and rational means of funding the VA health care system based on growth in the veterans beneficiary population and the same inflation rate other hospital systems expect to experience.

Veterans groups who support HR 2318 include:

  • The American Legion
  • Blinded Veterans of American
  • Disabled American Veterans
  • Military Order of the Purple Heart
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars
  • Vietnam Veterans of America

We are only asking that veterans be given the same consideration as other federal health programs whose funding is mandatory, including Medicare, the Department of Defense's TRICARE for Life and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

When the President's Task Force to Improve Health Care Delivery For Our Nation's Veterans¡ (PTF) issued its final report earlier this month, the commission cited the chronic "mismatch between the demand for VA services and the funding available to meet that demand" as its greatest concern. According to Dr. Gail Wilensky, one of the co-chairs of the task force, "the current mismatch is far greater™and its impact far more detrimental" than any previous gap.

The VA was not created to serve only those veterans it can afford to serve. All veterans, regardless of income, have earned the right to high-quality health care services. I encourage you to become a cosponsor of the "Assured Funding for Veterans Health Care Act of 2003."

If you would like to be a cosponsor or if you would like more information about HR 2318, please contact Sarah Keller-Likins at 5-9756.


Ranking Democratic Member
Committee on Veterans Affairs