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Friday, November 26, 2010

Veterans Medical Care: FY2011 Appropriations

Sidath Viranga Panangala
Specialist in Veterans Policy

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides benefits to veterans who meet certain eligibility criteria. Benefits to veterans range from disability compensation and pensions to hospital and medical care. The VA provides these benefits through three major operating units: the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), and the National Cemetery Administration (NCA).

This report focuses on the VHA. The VHA is primarily a direct service provider of primary care, specialized care, and related medical and social support services to veterans through the nation’s largest integrated health care system. Veterans generally must enroll in the VA health care system to receive medical care. Eligibility for enrollment is based primarily on previous military service, disability, and income. VA provides free inpatient and outpatient medical care to veterans for service-connected conditions and to low-income veterans for nonservice-connected conditions.

The Obama Administration released its FY2011 budget on February 1, 2010. The President requests an overall funding amount of $48.8 billion for VHA for FY2011, an increase of $3.7 billion over the enacted amount in FY2010. Furthermore, as required by P.L. 111-81, the Administration is requesting $50.6 billion in advance appropriations for FY2012 for the three medical care appropriations: medical services, medical support and compliance, and medical facilities. In FY2012, the administration’s budget request would provide $39.6 billion for the medical services account, $5.5 billion for medical support and compliance account, and $5.4 billion for the medical facilities account.

On July 15, 2010, the Senate Committee on Appropriations marked up its version of the MILCON-VA Appropriations bill for FY2011(S. 3615; S.Rept. 111-226). The Senate Appropriations Committee version of the bill provides $48.9 billion for VHA for FY2011. This amount includes $48.1 billion authorized in FY2010, an additional $120 million for the medical services and medical facilities accounts, and $590 million for the medical and medical and prosthetic research account. The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended amount is thus $120 million more than the President’s request for VHA for FY2011. S. 3615 also provides a advance appropriations of $50.6 billion for medical services, medical support and compliance, and medical facilities accounts to be available in FY2012.

On July 28, 2010, the House passed its version of the FY2011 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill (MILCON-VA Appropriations bill for FY2011, H.R. 5822; H.Rept. 111-559). The House-passed bill provides a total of $48.8 billion for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) for FY2011, which includes 48.1 billion authorized in the FY2010 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (P.L. 111-117) and $590 million for the medical and medical and prosthetic research account. H.R. 5822 provides advance appropriations of $50.6 billion for medical services, medical support and compliance, and medical facilities accounts to be available in FY2012. This is the same as the Administration’s request and 5.0% above the FY2011 total amount for the same three accounts.

Date of Report: November 15, 2010
Number of Pages: 44
Order Number: R41343
Price: $29.95

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