Veterans' Medical Care Appropriations and Funding Process [Updated December 27, 2004] [open pdf - 113KB]
"The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides benefits to veterans who meet certain eligibility rules. Benefits to veterans range from disability compensation and pensions, to hospital and medical care. VA provides these benefits to veterans through three major operating units: the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) and the National Cemetery Administration (NCA). VHA is primarily a direct service provider of primary care, specialized care, and related medical and social support services to veterans through an integrated health care system. Veterans are enrolled in priority groups that determine payments for service and non-service connected medical conditions. In FY2004, Congress appropriated $28.4 billion for VHA to be spent through an account structure comprised of four new accounts: medical services, medical administration, medical facilities, and medical and prosthetic research. In its budget submission to Congress, the Administration proposed several legislative and regulatory changes to increase certain co-payments and other cost-sharing charges for lower priority veterans and to reduce co-pays for certain veterans. The House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, and the final conference agreement did not accept any of the Administration's cost-sharing proposals for VHA. This report will be updated as legislative and budgetary activity occurs."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32548