Senate bill doubles spending on veterans' health

WASHINGTON (AP) - Spending on veterans' health care could double in three years under the Senate's solution to the long waits experienced by thousands seeking medical care at VA hospitals and clinics.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that a bill approved by the Senate would add $35 billion over the next three years to the $44 billion the government now spends annually on medical care for veterans.

Both the Senate bill and a House version also passed this past week would dramatically expand government-paid health care. They would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to pay private providers to treat veterans who can't get prompt appointments at VA hospitals and clinics.

The budget office says the bill ultimately could cost about $50 billion a year - double current spending.


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