It could be as big as Medicare Part D. It is being rushed quickly to a vote so congressmen can then flee Washington and claim they've done something to fix the VA situation. It does nothing to fix the VA situation. Did I mention it could be as big as Medicare Part D and will be a new massive entitlement program?
This is how House Republicans want to fix the VA situation. Only it won't actually fix the problems. It just spends massive amounts of money to bandaid the problems.
As Daniel Horowitz notes, "Total VA spending has increased by 56% to $152 billion since 2009, yet the crisis has only gotten worse." The House Republicans' solution is to spend even more.
Likewise, the initial estimate is only a short term estimate. They claim it'll cost $17 billion, but,
They plan to ram this through without a CBO score on the long-term effects. This is not a one-shot deal. They are creating a new Medicare-like program on top of the massive expansion of the VA itself. The CBO score on the original Senate bill predicted that the new entitlement would cost $50 billion per year, approaching the size of the Medicare Part D program. The conference bill caps spending at $10 billion per year, but this is even worse in some ways. CBO projected that the new “private option” would expand enrollment in the VA by 8 million and cause the current 8.4 million enrollees to increase use of VA benefits by 75%. There is no way they can implement this system and cap spending without leading to rationed care and without dissuading healthcare providers from participating in the program.
Remember, these are House Republicans who want to campaign on their accomplishments instead of against Barack Obama. Their accomplishment is growing the size and scope of the federal government without actually fixing the problems at the VA.
Conservatives should oppose this.