Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Lawmakers wonder if VA underestimates impact of health care reform

Apr. 23, 2013 - 05:27PM   |  
  • Filed Under

A House committee is concerned that the Veterans Affairs Department may be underestimating the cost and burden of national health care reform for veterans’ hospitals and clinics.

Beginning next year, the Affordable Care Act penalizes people who do not have health insurance — part of a move intended to control overall health insurance costs by expanding the number of people with insurance. VA could end up with some of those people because its health plan meets the new law’s definition of “minimum essential coverage.”

It is unclear how many veterans might turn to VA, but the 2014 budget includes $85 million to cover increased medical care costs, plus $3.4 million to cover administrative costs because VA would have to provide a written statement to each enrolled veteran about their coverage.

On Wednesday, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee will question VA health care officials about those estimates, which could be too low.

In the 2014 budget, VA estimates it will treat 6.5 million veterans, a modest 1.3 percent increase over the current fiscal year.

At an April 11 hearing, Carl Blake of Paralyzed Veterans of America raised questions about the Affordable Care Act’s impact on veterans care. VA has told veterans groups it expects the number of people leaving and the number enrolling in VA to be about the same, with little overall change. There is no additional funding in 2015, Blake said, making him “curious to know what the basis for that is exactly."

Kenneth Kizer, director of the Institute for Population Health Improvement at University of California Davis Health System, estimates 1.8 million uninsured veterans will be looking for coverage when the Affordable Care Act requirement kicks in next year.

In a 2012 report, Kizer, a former VA health official, said most veterans have private-sector health insurance, and those who are 65 or older are covered by Medicare and possibly other insurance. But the uninsured will be looking for coverage, he said.

A big influx of new patients would pose a burden for some VA hospitals, where veterans already face lengthy waits for medical appointments, Kizer warned.

Patricia Kime contributed to this story.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In Pay & Benefits

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Navy Times

This Week's Navy Times

Ball caps' big splash
New rules OK them with blue cammies, on base and off

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook