KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Spending For Veterans’ Care Delayed

Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has put off more than $765 million in spending authorized for equipment and care. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports on how securing disability compensation has become a battle for many Vietnam Veterans.

Bloomberg: Agency Delays $765 Million In U.S. Veterans Care Spending
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs postponed purchases of cardiac monitors, radiological equipment and pain-medication pumps for patients last year. It didn't replace old surgical tools, oxygen-delivery systems or deteriorating operating-room stretchers. In all, the agency delayed more than $765 million it was authorized to spend, affecting veterans' medical care in some cases, according to VA documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (Miller, 5/13).

Los Angeles Times: Vietnam Veterans' New Battle: Getting Disability Compensation
(John) Otte is among hundreds of thousands of veterans from the Vietnam era filing for damages four decades after the war. They account for the largest share of the 865,000 veterans stuck in a growing and widely denounced backlog of compensation claims — some 37%. The post 9-11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq account for 20%. The remainder are from the 1991 Gulf War, Korea, World War II and times of peace. Basic demographics explain some of the filing frenzy. Vietnam veterans are becoming senior citizens and more prone to health problems. Any condition they can link to their military service could qualify for monthly payments — and for many illnesses, it is easier for Vietnam veterans than other former troops to establish those links (Zarembo, 5/11).

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