VA nursing homes face $351 million cut under Bush budget

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President Bush's 2006 FY budget proposal would cut funds devoted to long-term care for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The proposal would eliminate federal funds for a program that provides long-term care for veterans, Congressional Quarterly said. It also would reduce funds for VA nursing homes by about $351 million, which could lead to the elimination of about 5,000 nursing home beds administered by the department.

VA officials said the budget proposal would increase funds for long-term "non-institutional" care by about 18% to help shift veterans from nursing home to in-home care but would not force veterans from nursing homes.

Total funds for the VA would increase by 1%, to $68.2 billion, under the proposal. About 2 million higher-income veterans without service-related conditions would have to pay a $250 annual fee, as well as an $8 increase in co-payments for prescription drugs, for FY 2006 under the budget plan.