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The American Legion Champions Re-Introduction of Vets Health Care Reform Bill
Date:2/12/2009

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Chairmen of both the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees have today re-introduced bills designed to streamline the funding of Department of Veterans Affairs health care programs and initiatives.

At an afternoon press conference, Senator Daniel Kahikina Akaka (D-HI) and Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA) announced the advancement of identical bills entitled the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009.

Among the provisions of the bill is long sought-after advance appropriations for military veterans' health care administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The advance appropriations mechanism allows Congress to vote on funding levels a year in advance of the current budget cycle.

"Advance-appropriations of VA health care funds will have a couple of great benefits for our constituency," says David K. Rehbein, National Commander of The American Legion. "Knowing what money will be coming to them well ahead of time will facilitate the VA's acquisition of the personnel, equipment and facilities needed to provide the best care possible. It will also facilitate better Congressional oversight of the funds' disposition," he continued, "thus helping assure that the monies will be spent as they should be."

Similar legislation was introduced by Senator Akaka and Congressman Filner this past September, but it was too late in the legislative season to gain favor. Considering that now-President Barack Obama was a co-sponsor of the original Senate bill, it is hoped that the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009 will be adopted in a timely fashion.

For years, veterans service organizations had argued in favor of mandatory veterans health care funding, as it is for Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare. "While this newly introduced legislation might not have the u
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SOURCE The American Legion
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