Earlier this month, a veterans health care received a political boost of sorts with President Trump signing the VA Mission Act. While good in principle, funding issues still linger surrounding the act. The VA Mission Act authorizes an expansion “of veterans’ access to private health care, but the bill does not reserve federal money to pay for it.” President Trump is pushing for the government to cut spending in other areas to pay for the new act.
Heated debate has been underway for the VA Mission Act with lack of funding support from the White House. “Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), head of the Senate Appropriations Committee, argued that if Congress does not ratify his proposal, the alternative could be to cut $10 billion a year for five years from existing programs, including initiatives within the Veterans Affairs Department.”
The issue ranges from last year’s $1.5 trillion tax bill which saw the federal deficit rise tremendously despite Republican rhetoric. In addition, there is still debate on just how much the new act will cost. According to the Washington Post, there is currently “no reliable estimate and little research to determine how much taxpayers pay for a private medical appointment versus one inside VA’s system of 1,300 clinics and hospitals. Conservatives and liberals agree that outsourcing tends to cost more because VA care has economies of scale, but how much more is a question that will affect the spending debate between the senators and the White House.”
The conversation surrounding payment will continue, but this may linger until the next budget ending taking place at the end of September.