We support our troops pt 89
Don't leave if you want decent
Veterans May Face Health Care Cuts in 2008
By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer 8 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - At least tens of thousands of veterans with non-critical medical issues could suffer delayed or even denied care in coming years to enable President Bush to meet his promise of cutting the deficit in half — if the White House is serious about its proposed budget.No comment, other than total and complete disgust
After an increase for next year, the Bush budget would turn current trends on their head. Even though the cost of providing medical care to veterans has been growing by leaps and bounds, White House budget documents assume a cutback in 2008 and further cuts thereafter.
In fact, the proposed cuts are so draconian that it seems to some that the White House is simply making them up to make its long-term deficit figures look better. More realistic numbers, however, would raise doubts as to whether Bush can keep his promise to wrestle the deficit under control by the time he leaves office.
"Either the administration is proposing gutting VA health care over the next five years or it is not serious about its own budget," said Rep. Chet Edwards (news, bio, voting record) of Texas, top Democrat on the panel overseeing the VA's budget. "If the proposals aren't serious, then that would undermine the administration's argument that they intend to reduce the deficit in half over the next several years."
In fact, the White House doesn't seem serious about the numbers. It says the long-term budget numbers don't represent actual administration policies. Similar cuts assumed in earlier budgets have been reversed.
"Each year the budget numbers go up," said Jeff Schrade, spokesman for Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Larry Craig, R-Idaho. "Speculation beyond 2007's budget is, at this point, just speculation."
But without the cuts, Bush's plan to halve the deficit would be far more difficult to achieve. For example, just freezing the budget for veterans' medical services below $27 billion understates the deficit for 2009 by perhaps $5 billion.
posted by Steve @ 7:50:00 PM