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07 Va Budget


Railroader

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Maybe some will rub off on us old coggers

Recent VA News Releases

To view and download VA news release, please visit the following

Internet address:

http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel

Veterans Get Nearly $81 Billion in Historic FY 07 Plan

Landmark Budget Includes Largest Increase in Health Care Spending in

History

WASHINGTON (Feb. 6, 2006) - Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James

Nicholson announced today that President Bush will seek a record $80.6

billion in the fiscal year 2007 budget for the Department of Veterans

Affairs (VA), with the overwhelming majority of these resources targeted

for health care and disability compensation. The FY '07 proposal

represents an increase of $8.8 billion, or 12.2 percent, above the

budget for 2006.

"Veterans are a priority. That's why the President is proposing this

historic budget with a landmark increase to continue the best health

care and vital benefits to those veterans who count on VA the most,"

Nicholson said. "With the support of Congress, we can take care of the

needs of our newest generation of combat veterans, while honoring our

commitment to veterans of earlier eras."

The FY '07 budget proposal calls for $38.5 billion in discretionary

funding -- mostly for health care. This budget contains the largest

increase in discretionary funding for VA ever requested by a President.

For health care alone, the President's request is an increase of $3.5

billion (or more than 11 percent) over the FY '06 level. The budget

proposal also would provide $42.1 billion in mandatory funding, mostly

for compensation, pension and other benefit programs.

FY '07 Budget Highlights

This budget proposal ensures that the Department will be able to care

for those veterans who count on VA the most.

* With this budget proposal, the President, working in partnership with

Congress, will have increased health care funding for veterans by 69

percent since FY '01.

* The budget continues the President's commitment for VA to work

closely with the Department of Defense to ensure that service members

returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and their families receive timely,

high-quality services and benefits.

* VA will be able to care for an estimated 5.3 million patients. With

this budget, the Department will continue providing world-class care for

its high-priority patients, including over 100,000 veterans of Operation

Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

* The FY '07 budget proposal includes $457 million for the Capital

Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) program, bringing the

total Department investment to nearly $3 billion since FY '04. The FY

'07 proposal includes funding for the continuation of medical facility

projects in Long Beach, Calif.; and Denver, Colo., and funds new

projects in American Lake, Wash.; Milwaukee, Wisc.; Columbia, Mo.; and

St. Louis, Mo.

* The FY '07 budget request calls for a total investment of almost $3.2

billion in mental health services, which is $339 million above this

year's level. This budget proposal ensures a full continuum of care for

veterans with mental health issues, to include comprehensive treatment

for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

* The FY '07 budget proposal requests $1.4 billion for prosthetics and

sensory aids, a $160 million increase over FY '06.

* Funding for non-institutional long-term care would increase by nearly

10 percent over FY '06, with a total investment of $535 million in the

President's proposed budget.

* The FY '07 budget proposal includes over $78 million for national

cemetery construction projects, including funds for cemetery expansion

and improvement at Great Lakes, Mich.; Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas; and

Saratoga, N.Y. Resources are also included for the development of

master plans for six new national cemeteries in Bakersfield, Calif.;

Birmingham, Ala.; Columbia-Greenville, S.C.; Jacksonville, Fla.;

Sarasota, Fla.; and southeastern Pennsylvania. The budget also includes

$32 million in grants for the construction of state veterans'

cemeteries.

Ensuring a Seamless Transition

The President's FY '07 budget request provides the resources necessary

to fulfill our priority that service members' transition from active

duty military status to civilian life is as smooth and seamless as

possible.

Men and women still on active duty will find it easier to access VA

benefits when they near the end of their military service because of a

program that allows early application for disability claims and other

benefits. VA staff are located at 140 military installations around the

nation, as well as in Korea and Germany, to assist active duty service

members in applying for benefits before they separate from military

service.

Applications from separating service members are now processed at two

locations to improve efficiency and the consistency of our claims

decisions.

In health care, VA has already facilitated transfers from military

medical facilities to VA medical centers of several thousand injured

service members returning from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation

Iraqi Freedom.

World-Class Health Care

The President's FY '07 budget proposal requests $34.3 billion for VA's

health care program. This is an increase of $3.5 billion (or 11.3

percent) more than 2006 -- the largest increase in VA's medical care

funding ever requested by a President. It is 69 percent more than the

FY '01 enacted budget in place at the beginning of the administration.

With these resources, VA will be able to treat an estimated 5.3 million

patients. In 2007, 79 percent of all veteran patients are expected to

be high priority -- those veterans who count on VA the most (Priority

1-6 veterans).

The President's budget request also includes $457 million to continue

the recommendations of the 2004 Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced

Services (CARES) report designed to modernize VA's health care system.

The FY '07 proposal brings the total Department investment to date to

almost $3 billion. This historic transformation means that VA will be

able to provide greater access to high-quality care well into the

future.

VA's health care system continues to be the nation's leader in

delivering safe, accessible, and high-quality care that sets the

national benchmark for excellence in health care. Last year the

prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association noted that VA's

health care system "has quickly emerged as a bright star in the

constellation of safety practice, with system-wide implementation of

safe practices, training programs and the establishment of four

patient-safety research centers."

In addition, for the sixth consecutive year, VA has set the public and

private sector standard for health care satisfaction on the American

Customer Satisfaction Index conducted by the National Quality Research

Center at the University of Michigan. Patients included in the study

gave VA health care higher marks than those received by private-sector

facilities.

Responding Financially to Disabled Veterans

The President's budget proposal for FY '07 will enable VA to address the

large growth in the number and complexity of claims for compensation and

pension benefits, while at the same time increasing the processing

accuracy of our most challenging compensation claims.

The budget includes funds for these disability payments to nearly 3.7

million veterans in FY '07, or more than 7 percent above the number at

the end of FY '05.

Key program improvements will affect both the education and vocational

rehabilitation and employment programs. The timeliness of processing

original education claims will improve by eight days during the next two

years, falling from 33 days in FY '05 to 25 days in FY '07. In

addition, VA will increase the percentage of disabled veterans

successfully completing the vocational rehabilitation and employment

program.

Cemeteries are National Shrines

With the resources requested in the FY '07 budget, VA will expand access

to national and state veterans' cemeteries. The Department will

increase the percentage of veterans served by a burial option in a

national or state veterans cemetery within 75 miles of their residence

to nearly 84 percent.

The FY '07 budget proposal calls for $161 million in operations and

maintenance funding for national cemeteries, an increase of $11 million

(or 7.4 percent) over the level for FY '06. These additional resources

will ensure VA continues to meet the burial needs of veterans and

maintain its national cemeteries as shrines dedicated to preserving our

nation's history and honoring veterans' service and sacrifice.

Highlights for Provisions

The President's FY '07 budget includes two provisions that will further

ensure VA is able to care for those veterans who count on it the most by

asking other non-disabled, higher income veterans (Priority 7 and 8

veterans) to pay a $250 annual enrollment fee and higher pharmacy

co-payments (from $8 to $15).

These veterans were not eligible to receive VA medical care at all, or

only on a case-by-case space available basis, until 1999 when new

authority allowed VA to enroll them in any year that resource levels

permitted. They typically have other alternatives for addressing their

medical care costs, including third-party health insurance coverage and

Medicare, and the provisions would ask those enrolled for VA care today

to assume a modest share of the cost of their care.

Under no circumstances will a veteran make a co-payment of any kind for

the treatment of a service-connected condition.

T

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Smoke and mirrors as the VA Budget is made up of assumptions that don't pan out. GAO said VA was short 4 billion this year. Last year it was 1.5 Billion and that does not mention the 466 million taken out of money owed the VA from last years foul ups.

The truth is my Dallas VA barely has enough money to keep the lights on much less take care of Veterans.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

it's still smoke and mirrors, they say this budget will provide healthcare for 5 million vets, yet they said elsehwere they treated 7 million last year, and with all the new older vets coming in for the prescription coverage the number of vets is on;y going to increase, so how do they figure they are going to see at least 2 million more vtes this year than they did last year. This also assumes they pass the 250 dollar deductable's and the pharmacy rates from 8 to 15, and all the class 7 & 8 prioritiy vets stick around for this, if they have choices to get care elsewhere, why come back to abuse land. There is also another 1.2 billion presidential authority release fund in this so is it really there. Some of the other number they have decreasing makes me wonder how, nursing home care goes down, are they planning on that many vets dying or are they just going to wheel them out in the street?

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Maybe they are just trying to soften up the vet population for the coming election and after that ....what do you mean more money....we dont have any!..anyway that is how I figure.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

There is good news for the VA. The number of vets to take care of is expected to decline as we die off in the next ten years. All the WWII vets will be dead and the the Korean and RVN vets will start to die off in greater numbers. Hooray for the grim reaper. The VA will finally be in the black.

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I'm waiting to hear from my Congressman if it's true, (as my VARO Insurance Business Office told me), that it is VA Policy now to bill private Insurance for prescription drugs prescribed for all service-connected conditions. Maybe this is part of the new budget plan to get more money for the VA?

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As long as their are countries that live and are rulled by an extreme faction of their country and cannot learn tallerance of those who do not believe as they do, their will always be a need for a VA, since war is enevitable and as we all know, their will be serviceman who get hurt and/or becone ill and can not remain in service. Ergo, the need for the VA.

Also, as the war on drugs continues to grow, eventially the security of our nation will be in danger and theirfor, their may come a day when those countries that harbor such drug lords, will become an enamy of our country and their will be a need for our military to take our war to a higher level in order to cope with this ever growing threat to our nation.

The VA will always need to stay on top of the curve or it may find itself in very deep trouble, for no matter how much a problem these other countries might be to our government, the anger and number of Veterans marching on Washington will make them dim in comparison.

I remember once their was a campout on the front lawn of the White House, It probably would be pale compaired to the numbers that could find their way their once again.

It's will be better for them to budget to much and have to return some, than it would be to ask for more and not get it.

Jim S. ;)

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Jesse

If the VA bills private insurance for medications for SC conditions that would be a slap in the face of monumental proportions. We would be on a slippery slope to having all SC conditions billed to private insurance. That just won't stand. I will just turn in my US citizenship.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Hey guys .. come on now .. you know the VA won't trick us .... will they ??? .... :lol:

They are planning a big raise for us ... then taking all of us out on a sunny day for log rides and all the cotton candy that we can eat. ;)

... Magoo .. aka .. Bill ... B)

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