Veteran Affairs' Budget Delay Could Delay or Cut Community Care in 2022

Ryan Erickson

As a reminder, this Friday, December 3, 2021, is the end of the short-term Federal Budget extension. Without another extension or outright approval of the 2022 Federal Budget, VA's health care system could suffer.

You may recall that in September, lawmakers in Washington approved a spending/budget extension for the federal budget to allow time for mediation of the proposed plan. For the VA's part, the agency has officially requested $269.9 billion (or $270.7, depending on the number you're looking at) for FY2022, up some $30 billion from last year.

If you're a budget nerd, you can check out the VA's official budget request here (PDF).

For those who are not all that into it, here is the overview;

The 2022 mandatory funding request is $152.7 billion, [increasing] $14.9 billion or 10.8% above 2021. This funding is in addition to the $17.8 billion provided to VA in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (PL 117-2). With the Transformational Fund resources and medical collections, the total 2022 funding level is $270.7 billion, a 10.4% increase above 2021.

The point of this article is simple- if our lawmakers are unable to come to a resolution in passing the national budget, let alone the VA budget, upwards of 20 million Veterans could see their benefits frozen. Those most in jeopardy are those of us receiving or expecting to receive community care. Without approval of the funds, community care is likely to cease until the money is available again.

According to Leo Shane III's recent article, the good news is that there seems to be little opposition to the VA's portion of the budget, even with the increase.

Keep an eye out this week as lawmakers are making their way back into Washington following the Thanksgiving weekend to give the 2022 budget another try. (#fingerscrossed)

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