KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

VA Request This Week For $17.6B Stalls Congressional Effort To Reform Agency

Talks between the House and Senate over revamping care for veterans were already difficult, but the big spending request complicates the situation.

Politico: VA Request Complicates Reform Push
An unexpected funding request from the Department of Veterans Affairs is complicating negotiations over a bill to reform the embattled agency, Florida Republican Rep. Jeff Miller said on Thursday. On Wednesday, Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson told the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs the department needs $17.6 billion to hire thousands of doctors and reduce wait times at VA facilities (French, 7/17).

Bloomberg: Veterans Health Deal Stalls As Obama Seeks More Spending
Negotiations in Congress over how to finance medical care for U.S. military veterans are stalled although Republicans and Democrats say completing a deal before next month is a top priority. Talks between the House and Senate, already moving slowly, were further disrupted when President Barack Obama’s acting head of the Veterans Affairs Department told lawmakers July 16 the agency needs another 10,000 workers and an additional $17.6 billion through 2017 (Bender, 7/18).

In other VA news -

The Washington Post: VA Uses Patient Privacy To Go After Whistleblowers, Critics Say
Is the Department of Veterans Affairs hiding behind HIPAA to hit federal whistleblowers? HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It protects the privacy of patients’ health information. It is not meant to be a weapon against federal employees who expose wrongdoing at VA or anywhere else (Davidson, 7/17).

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