Analysis: Bush budget cuts future funding for veteran health care
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration's budget assumes cuts to funding for veterans' health care two years from now -- even as badly wounded troops returning from Iraq could overwhelm the system.
Bush is using the cuts, critics say, to help fulfill his pledge to balance the budget by 2012. But even administration allies say the numbers are not real and are being used to make the overall budget picture look better.
After an increase sought for next year, the Bush budget would turn current trends on their head. Even though the cost of providing medical care to veterans has been growing rapidly -- by more than 10 percent in many years -- White House budget documents assume consecutive cutbacks in 2009 and 2010 and a freeze thereafter.
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