Sanders offers lower-cost bill to reform VA
WASHINGTON - With Congress scheduled to recess in a week, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee's chairman is offering to scale back a Senate-passed bill to improve health care services for veterans.
Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont says his proposal would cost less than $25 billion over three years. That is $10 billion less than a bill passed by the Senate last month and nearly $20 billion less than a House-backed measure.
The Obama administration says it needs less - approximately $17.6 billion - for hiring doctors, nurses and other health professionals, lease new facilities and upgrade computers to reduce a backlog of veterans awaiting care at VA hospitals and clinics. The administration request has no money for turning more VA care over to private doctors, the biggest cost in Congress's bills.