New Law Speeds Up VA’s Beleaguered Budget Process
President Obama signed a law Thursday to grease the Veterans Affairs Department's troubled budgeting process by changing the schedule to allocate funds a year in advance, the Washington Post reports. The Veterans Health Care and Budget Reform and Transparency Act "means timely, sufficient and predictable funding from year to year. For VA hospitals and clinics, it means more time to budget, to recruit high-quality professionals, and to invest in new health care equipment," Obama said (Shear, 10/22).
The VA budget has emerged from Congress late 20 of the past 23 years, which, for the department's health system, has led to "delays in replacing medical equipment or insufficient staff to handle their work," the Associated Press reports. "The VA provides health care for more than 23 million American veterans; as many as a quarter of the nation's population qualifies for VA coverage, either as veterans or family members of veterans" (10/22).