$18B in VA Hospital Improvements Pledged in Biden Infrastructure Plan
The VA medical facility improvements are part of the president’s $2.25 trillion ‘American Jobs Plan.’
President Joe Biden’s sweeping $2.25 trillion infrastructure package includes $18 billion in upgrades to Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities.
Portions of “The American Jobs Plan” would pay for “vastly improving our nation’s federal facilities, especially those that serve veterans,” according to a fact sheet released by the White House.
“While the median age of U.S. private sector hospitals is roughly 11 years, the Veterans Affairs’ hospital portfolio has a median age of 58,” the fact sheet claims.
The $18 billion would help pay for a “backlog of high-efficiency projects that would help increase the health security of our veterans, put people back to work, and achieve an important national project.” The package would either modernize existing VA hospitals and clinics or build new ones, reports The Hill.
What those specific projects would be has not been revealed by the Biden administration.
Aging VA medical facilities have been a concern of veterans groups for years. Recently, representatives from Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Veterans of Foreign Wars suggested $2.8 billion in major construction work, which is more than twice the VA plans on spending this year, reports the Military Times. This same collection of veterans groups also identified $7 billion in “seismic corrections” of VA medical centers.
Some of the VA facilities targeted for improvements, however, might be closed in the next few years, so it’s not clear how those closures would affect Biden’s planned expenditures.
Congress still needs to approve the White House package, which also aims to “fix highways, rebuild bridges, upgrade ports, airports and transit systems; deliver clean drinking water, a renewed electric grid, and high-speed broadband to all Americans; build, preserve, and retrofit more than 2 million homes and commercial buildings, modernize our nation’s schools and child care facilities; revitalize manufacturing, secure U.S. supply chains, invest in R&D, and train Americans for jobs of the future; create good-quality jobs that pay prevailing wages in safe and healthy workplaces while ensuring workers have a free and fair choice to organize, join a union, and bargain collectively with their employers.”
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