(Host) A number of Vermont veterans’ organizations are supporting Congressman Bernie Sanders’ plan to increase health care funding for veterans. The Bush administration has proposed a 5% increase in spending for veterans’ medical care next year. But Sanders says this figure needs to be doubled because more and more veterans are using the government’s health care system. If the budget isn’t increased, Sanders says veterans will have lengthy delays before they’ll be able to get the health care they deserve:
(Sanders) "The issue is, do we adequately fund the needs of our veterans? Do we provide the health care which we promised them? Do we process their claims in a timely manner, or wait eight or nine months as is the case right now? Do we do all those things, do we increase the budget by the $3 billion that the veterans’ organizations tell us that we need? Or do we say, we’re sorry we can’t afford to do that but by the way we do have enough money to provide $50 billion a year in tax breaks to the wealthiest one percent."
(Host) It’s estimated that approximately 62,000 veterans in Vermont are eligible for health care benefits.