Speed Reads

Spending

Obama's budget would allow for de-funding of program that allows veterans to seek care outside of VA system

The Obama administration is seeking to allow the diversion of funding from a program the president signed into law just in August, after much dispute.

The Veterans Choice Program, authored by Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, provides military vets with a "choice" card that allows them to seek healthcare more quickly at designated facilities outside the dysfunctional Veterans Affairs medical system. The Department of Veterans Affairs, though, says many Choice card holders aren't using their cards, and that most veterans prefer receiving treatment at VA facilities.

The administration's 2016 budget proposal seeks to send the program's funding, which was reportedly designed to continue until 2017, elsewhere. According to the Washington Examiner, Obama's legislative proposal "would allow the VA to raid the program's funding, now set at $10 billion."

Obama, the Examiner goes on, "said the money is needed 'to support essential investments in VA system priorities in a fiscally responsible, budget-neutral manner.'"

Republicans have said they won't support the reallocation of funds, arguing that throwing money at the VA will not fix the department's problems, and that real reform is needed.

Obama's spending bill requests a budget increase of nearly eight percent for the VA, and many fellow Democrats have joined the president in pushing for more money for the VA to build new hospitals and pay more doctors.