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McHugh: cut red tape from veteran health care

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Revelations of grim conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center are bringing intense focus on the health care system for veterans. President Bush planned to do some damage control today by visiting Walter Reed. He'll talk to veterans and hospital staff, trying to reassure them the government is doing something following the scandal over shoddy treatment of wounded soldiers. Yesterday, the House passed a $2.9 trillion budget resolution. Among other things, it provides $3.5 billion more for veterans' care than the president's budget. It rejects the administration plan to raise premiums for the military's health plan, called Tricare. Congressman John McHugh, a Republican, voted against the Democratic resolution. He also voted against the Republicans' own budget resolution, which reflected the Bush Administration's plan to cut funding for military treatment facilities. In comments during a House Military Personnel Subcommittee hearing this week, McHugh said these are "most difficult times" for the military health system. Better technology has meant more soldiers survive severe wounds, like traumatic brain injuries. But that means veterans' hospitals will have to care for these soldiers their whole lives. On Wednesday, the congressman told David Sommerstein that the biggest problem facing the system is red tape.

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David Sommerstein
Reporter/ Producer

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