Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bush Budget Cuts Veterans Healthcare In 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration's budget assumes cuts to 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. But even administration allies say the numbers are not real and are being used to make the overall budget picture look better.

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 -- by more than 10 percent in many years -- White House budget documents assume consecutive cutbacks in 2009 and 2010 and a freeze thereafter.

The proposed cuts are unrealistic in light of recent VA budget trends -- its medical care budget has risen every year for two decades and 83 percent in the six years since Bush took office -- sowing suspicion that the White House is simply 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."

This is just so typical of the Bush/Republican philosophy. They say they love and support the troops, they portray themselves as the party that's sooooo "Patriotic", but behind closed doors they continuously cut funding to the VA and underfund budgets for important items the troops need, such as body armor, upgrades for helmets and armor for vehicles. It seems to me that they have a strange way of showing their love and support!


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