This is from House Veterans Affairs Ranking Member Lane Evans-D.
VA Data Show Twice as Many Veterans Waiting for Health Care Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) data show that the number of new veterans enrolled in the department’s health care system and waiting for their first clinic appointment to be scheduled has doubled in the year. As of April 2005, 15,211 veterans were waiting. This month, the number has ballooned to 30,475. Over the course of two years, the number of new enrollees waiting has increased by over 400 percent. “These numbers are simply unacceptable,” stated Representative Mike Michaud (D-ME), the Ranking Member of the Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “The VA must ask for the budgetary resources it needs to provide health care to our veterans, and not pretend everything is all right as this Administration rations health care by making veterans wait and wait and wait.” Noting that the Administration imposed an enrollment ban on certain veterans in 2003, Michaud called for the ban to be lifted: “On top of asking for the dollars to get the job done today, the Administration must ask for the dollars to end this intolerable enrollment ban. This is even more important today than it was in 2003 because more and more families are losing their health care.” Although some areas of the country have shown an improvement in addressing the number of veterans waiting for care, many others have shown an exponential increase. “The Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) that serves my state has shown a marked improvement since last September, but a single veteran who has to wait for health care is one veteran too many. I believe if a man or woman has served our nation in uniform, they deserve timely access to VA’s medical facilities and quality care. A lack of timeliness has a direct impact upon health care quality. VA health care is very good, but for those who have to wait the quality is not what it should be.”
Mr. Taylor, Ms. Dole,Mr. Burr, would you care to give us your comments on this issue?