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Schumer Urges President To Fully Fund Health Services For Hudson Valley Vets

Reported Spending Freeze Could Undermine Medical and Other Services for More than 33,000 Veterans in the Hudson Valley and at the Montrose and Castle Point VA Hospitals Schumer Pushes for Full Funding for VA Hospitals

US Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the Bush Administration to fully fund the Veterans Administration (VA) health care system and other services, including budgeting sufficient funding for New York's VA hospitals. In light of recent reports indicating the Administration may intend to freeze funding for most discretionary programs, including the VA budget, Schumer warned that with factoring in inflation and population growth, this freeze amounts to cuts in funding for veterans services throughout the region. Especially affected would be the VA Hudson Valley Health Care System, which has two campuses at Montrose and Castle Point and a number of local clinics that serve more than 33,000 veterans.

At a time when our men and women are serving so bravely overseas, we all have a duty to make sure they are cared for when they return, Schumer said. This is the time to bolster vets health care not gut it. We must ensure the VA health care system receives the funding it needs so veterans in the Hudson Valley get the quality health care they deserve.

Recently published reports indicate that the Bush Administration plans to freeze spending in several domestic areas, including veterans health care. When factoring in population growth and the rate of inflation, a freeze could amount to spending cuts, cause higher deductibles and copayments for veterans health care and potentially curtail the eligibility of veterans for elements of their health care.

Schumer said that according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, these programs help to provide more than 260,000 New York Veteransincluding more than 33,000 in the Hudson Valley area with $1.6 billion of medical treatment annually including inpatient and outpatient care at facilities and hospitals throughout the State. Schumer also released the following countybycounty breakdown showing the number of veterans from the Hudson Valley who use the VA medical services every year and the value of the medical attention they receive. Specifically Schumers report showed the following:

Click here to view chart.

To fight any cuts to these critical services for New Yorks Veterans, Schumer sent a letter to the President urging him to budget adequate funds for the VA health care system to ensure there is no increase in outofpocket expenses for veterans.

In his letter Schumer wrote, It is imperative that VA is able to provide highquality primary and specialty care in a timely manner, in addition to longterm and mental health care for those who require it. It is already apparent that both of these will continue to be in high demand and we cannot ignore them as we shape the future of VA health care. We all have an obligation to the men and women who serve our nation to ensure that VA gets the funding it so desperately needs to meet these goals.