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As Badly Wounded US Troops Overwhelm System, Bush Seeks Cuts To VA
(Andrew Taylor, Associated Press, February 12, 2007)
The Bush administration plans to cut funding for veterans' health care two years from now - even as badly wounded troops returning from Iraq could overwhelm the system. . . . Bush is using the cuts, critics say, to help fulfill his pledge to balance the budget by 2012. . . . After an increase sought 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 rapidly, White House documents assume consecutive cutbacks in 2009 and 2010 and a freeze thereafter. . . . The proposed cuts are unrealistic in light of recent VA trends - its medical budget has risen every year for two decades and 83 percent the last six years - sowing suspicion the White House is making them up to make its long-term deficit figures look better. . . . Either the administration is willingly proposing massive cuts in VA health care," said Rep. Chet Edwards of Texas, chairman of the panel overseeing the VA's budget. "Or its promise of a balanced budget by 2012 is based on completely unrealistic assumptions." . . . A spokesman for Larry Craig, R-Idaho, of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, called the White House moves another step in a longtime "budgeting game."

posted by Lorenzo 7:00 AM

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