Attorney General Alan Lance says the Department of Veterans Affairs is trying to cut payments for veterans at the Idaho State Veterans Home at Lewiston, and he has gone to federal court to stop it.
Lance said Tuesday it’s simply an effort by the federal government to shift veterans costs to the state.
“The veterans who live in the Idaho State Veterans Home risked their lives to defend the people who make up the same federal government that is now trying to wiggle out of its legal and moral obligations to them,” Lance said in a prepared statement. “Essentially, the VA is trying to shift what are rightfully federal costs to the state taxpayer. Of course, this federal cost accounting approach to veterans health care leaves the veteran stuck in the middle.”
Federal law requires the VA to pay $39.74 per day to partially cover Idaho’s cost of nursing home care at the state’s three veterans homes.
A VA medical center at Spokane has provided prescription drugs at no cost to qualified veterans since the Lewiston facility opened in 1994, but threatened cuts.
Lance said the VA tried to cut its payments, but its “misguided” policies would force the state to either pay for prescription drugs or forfeit the federal government’s share of nursing home costs.
“What is even more perplexing is that the VA is inconsistent in meeting its obligations to Idaho veterans,” Lance said. “It would appear that the federal government’s commitment is determined more by the budget whims of regional bureaucrats than it is by federal law.”
Lance’s complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Boise, asks the court to order the VA to continue providing prescription drugs and continue to pay the federal share of nursing home costs.
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