H.R. 1016: Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009

H.R. 1016

Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009

Date
June 23, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

H.R. 1016 is being considered under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds vote for passage. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) on February 12, 2009.

Bill Summary

H.R. 1016 includes a sense of Congress "that the provision of health care services to veterans could be more effectively and efficiently planned and managed if funding was provided for the management and provision of such services in the form of advance appropriations."

H.R. 1016 would authorize funding for the following Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) programs: Medical Services, Medical Support and Compliance, Medical Facilities, Information Technology Systems, and Medical and Prosthetic Research. Starting in FY 2011, funding would be authorized both for the fiscal year as well as the next fiscal year, a so-called advance appropriation.

The bill requires that the VA conduct a study of the adequacy and accuracy of the budget projections made by the Enrollee Health Care Projection Model with respect to the fiscal year involved, and subsequent years.

Furthermore, the bill would require that the Secretary of the VA submit a report on the requirements of the bill and the amendments made by the bill, including information on the Secretary's plans for improving the capability of the VA to better and more accurately estimate future health care costs and demands, and a description of the impediments, statutory or otherwise, to providing future year estimates and advance appropriations.

 

Background

According to CRS, an advance appropriation means appropriation of new budget authority that becomes available one or more fiscal years beyond the fiscal year for which the appropriations act was passed (that is beyond the budget year). For example, if the following language appeared in an appropriations act for FY2010, it would provide an advance appropriation for FY2011: "For medical services, $30,854,000,000 to become available on October 1, 2010 (the start of the FY2011)." Under the current scoring guidelines, new budget authority for an advance appropriation is scored in the fiscal year in which the funds become available for obligation. In this example, the budget authority would be recorded in FY2011.

Several federal programs are currently funded under an advance appropriation or have been in the past, include the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

 

Cost

CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost almost $187 billion over the 2010-2014 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. Enacting the bill would not affect direct spending or revenues.