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Disabled Veterans Leader Presses Issues with Key Lawmakers
Date:3/9/2009

WASHINGTON, March 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Commander of the Disabled American Veterans begins a series of meetings with key lawmakers seeking their support for budget reform legislation to ensure sufficient, timely and predictable funding for veterans' health care. He also is urging them to reject a contentious proposal that would shift the cost of treating veterans for service-connected conditions from the government's side of the ledger to insurance companies.

"For too long the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system has had to struggle with budgets that were too little, too late," said DAV National Commander Raymond E. Dempsey. "It's time to reform the funding system to enable the Department of Veterans Affairs to work better and smarter in caring for the nation's sick and disabled veterans."

Dempsey has scheduled meetings with Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel Akaka and Ranking Republican Richard Burr, House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner and Sen. Tim Johnson and Rep. Chet Edwards, who chair their respective Appropriations subcommittees that fund veterans programs.

A top priority for the DAV and other groups is passage of the recently introduced Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act. The measure would authorize Congress to approve VA medical care appropriations one year in advance of the start of each fiscal year. The legislation also would add needed transparency to the process by having the Government Accountability Office review and report on the VA budget request.

"This legislation is all about making government more efficient, transparent and accountable. These are three key elements that President Obama, Congress and veterans all agree are needed in these challenging times. And if enacted in conjunction with the fiscal year 2010 budget, advance appropriations for 2011 would not add one dime to the 2010
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SOURCE Disabled American Veterans
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