Hare Supports Bill To Improve Veterans' Health Care
Congressman Phil Hare today voted for legislation that will ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) receives timely and sufficient funding to meet the health care needs of our veterans.
The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009 requires Congress to appropriate funding for veterans' health care one year in advance of the start of each fiscal year, a process known as advanced appropriations.' This will give VA health care a one-year head start on other federal programs so veterans can be treated effectively and efficiently.
"Providing the VA with sufficient and predictable resources will allow it to provide our veterans with the best care possible," said Hare. "It will empower the VA to effectively budget and manage its health care programs and services, allowing it to hire the appropriate number of doctors, nurses, clinicians and support staff to meet the demand for high quality medical care for our veterans."
The VA has received its annual funding for health care programs late 19 of the past 22 years. Over the past seven years, the VA received its budget an average of three months after the start of the new fiscal year.
"Late funding is more than a missed deadline-it is a veteran with PTSD who can not access the treatment he or she needs," Hare said. "It is an injured hero who must wait for a prosthetic. It is a VA in disarray at a time when our wounded warriors are counting on the Department's services."
Hare has long been a champion of improved funding for veterans. In the 110th Congress, he introduced the Assured Funding for Veterans Health Care Act which would have made veterans' health care a mandatory item in the federal budget, like Social Security or Medicare.
Four of the nation's largest veterans' service organizationsAMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United Statesalso view VA funding reform as a top legislative priority and endorse the bill.
"Congressman Phil Hare's longstanding efforts to fix the VA health care funding system, going back to his first days in Congress, played a significant role in setting the stage for today's House action on advance appropriations legislation," said David W. Gorman, Executive Director of Disabled American Veterans (DAV). "As the prime House sponsor of mandatory funding legislation, and now an original cosponsor of the Veterans Health Care and Budget Reform and Transparency Act, H.R. 1016, Phil Hare has proven time and again that he is a true champion for this nation's veterans."