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Stabenow Fights Budget Proposals That Will Hurt America's Veterans

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC



U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has led an effort calling on Senate Budget Committee members to reject President Bush's plan to double the cost of prescription drug co-payments and charge an annual enrollment fee for middle-income veterans. The President's budget could increase health care costs for as many as 39,000 Michigan veterans.

In a letter to Budget Committee leaders, Stabenow and 18 of her Senate colleagues called these proposals "unacceptable" and "harmful to America's veterans."

"The President's budget increases the co-pay for a 30-day supply of prescription drugs from $8 to $15 and imposes an annual $250 enrollment fee for middle-income veterans," the senators wrote. "It is unacceptable to place the burden of needed increases for veterans' health care on the shoulders of America's veterans themselves."

As of June 2005, approximately 393,000 veterans that have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom have entered the VA health care system. More than 100,000 of these veterans have already sought treatment from VA medical centers.

"When we have thousands of brave men and women returning home we should not be asking them to pay for medical care they were promised," wrote the senators.

Full text of the letter attached.

- 30 -

March 7, 2006

The Honorable Judd Gregg The Honorable Kent Conrad
Chairman Ranking Member
Committee on the Budget Committee on the Budget
United States Senate United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510 Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Gregg and Ranking Member Conrad:

We are writing to strongly oppose a proposal in the President's fiscal year 2007 budget that will be harmful to America's veterans.

The President's budget increases the co-pay for a 30-day supply of prescription drugs from $8 to $15 and imposes an annual $250 enrollment fee for priority 7 and 8 veterans. This is the fourth consecutive year the President has submitted this request and each year Congress has rejected it. It is unacceptable to place the burden of needed increases for veterans' health care on the shoulders of America's veterans themselves.

As of June 2005, approximately 393,000 veterans that have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom have separated from service, and over 100,000 of them had sought treatment from VHA medical centers. When we have thousands of brave men and women returning home we should not be asking them to pay for medical care they were promised.

We urge you to reject the President's proposal to increase health care costs for veterans, and provide the men and women who have served our country with the health care they have earned and deserve.

Sincerely,

Sen. Debbie Stabenow
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski
Sen. Daniel K. Akaka
Sen. Patty Murray
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy
Sen. Bill Nelson
Sen. John F. Kerry
Sen. Maria Cantwell
Sen. Byron L. Dorgan
Sen. Barbara Boxer
Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
Sen. Tom Harkin
Sen. Mark Dayton
Sen. Ron Wyden
Sen. James M. Jeffords
Sen. Robert C. Byrd
Sen. Mark Pryor
Sen. Tim Johnson
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

http://www.stabenow.senate.gov/press/2006/030906FightingProposalsThatWillHurtVeterans.htm

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