IMMEDIATE RELEASE





Press Release

February 7, 2005

No. 05-002


Contact:
Mokie Porter

(301) 585-4000 Ext. 146
(301) 996-0901


Administration’s Budget Proposal Does a Disservice to Veterans

 

 

Budget of the United States Government - Fiscal Year 2006


(Washington, D.C.) – “The budget unveiled today by the administration fires another volley in what appears to be a budget war on America’s veterans,” said Thomas H. Corey, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA).  “It does a disservice to those of us who donned the uniform to defend the rights, principles, and freedoms that we hold dear. It does not bode well for those returning from the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.”   

While the FY ' 06 budget calls for miniscule increases in VA health care funding, these increases are woefully inadequate to compensate for the dramatic increases in veterans' prescription copayments and a substantial annual "user fee." The budget anticipates third-party reimbursements and total collections to amount to more than $3 billion in the $33.4 billion budget.   

“The increases in copayments and the user fee are designed to drive veterans away from the VA,” Corey said.  “Even with these increases, the budget is inadequate to care for veterans who use the VA health care system as well as those who are now returning from war and will seek care from the VA. 

“Congressional leadership and the administration must understand that the cost of providing care for veterans is part of the ongoing cost of our national defense,” Corey said.  “With American soldiers deployed across the globe, the administration has uttered platitudes about our brave young men and women on the front lines of freedom. However, this grossly inadequate budget shows that they do not understand our nation's obligation to care for veterans.

“We believe this budget will constrict veterans benefits,” Corey said.  “The administration is attempting to portray veterans and military retirees as unpatriotic by claiming the cost of veterans benefits hinders America’s ability to defend itself, as Undersecretary of Defense David Chu recently told The Wall Street Journal

“The President is mistaken if he believes that 58 percent of veterans voted for the Bush-Cheney ticket last year to give his administration a mandate to cut funds for veterans,” said Corey. “If he believes that veterans voted to restrict access to health care, he needs to reassess his position.”

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Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

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