VA Budget Is “Overly Optimistic”:

According to Rep. Steve Buyer, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, the Administration’s proposed $80.6 billion 2007 VA budget is a good first step, praising President Bush for increasing VA funding. However, he thinks there are chinks in the armor. In particular, he said at a committee hearing on Feb. 8 that he is concerned the VA “track record” indicates it is being “overly optimistic” in projecting it would collect nearly $3 billion from third-party health care insurers. Buyer also expressed concern that the budget proposal calls for annual enrollment fees and higher drug co-pays for veterans who do not have service-related disabilities—both of which failed to gain Congressional support last year.