In testimony before a House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, a coalition of veterans service organizations will urge Congress to reform the budget process to guarantee adequate, reliable and sustainable funding for the veterans health care system.

Thousands of our young men and women are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious wounds and permanent disabilities. Millions more veterans from previous wars also have been disabled in military service.

Many of these new veterans have incurred devastating injuries, traumatic brain injury, or are suffering from severe mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder. The Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs must meet their needs and must have sufficient programs, services and benefits to help them recover and rehabilitate themselves and their lives.

The current funding mechanism for veterans health care is unreliable and subject to political posturing, cost-cutting and budget gimmicks. This makes it impossible to properly manage, plan and operate the VA health care system and causes veterans to suffer. The time for change is now.

The Partnership for Veterans Health Care Budget Reform has long sought a permanent solution for funding VA health care to guarantee veterans will have a dependable, quality, viable and accessible system now and for the foreseeable future. Mandatory funding is essential to allowing the VA to manage the delivery of care and to plan effectively to meet known and predictable needs.

The Partnership for Veterans Health Care Budget Reform includes The American Legion, AMVETS, Blinded Veterans Association, Disabled American Veterans, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and Vietnam Veterans of America.