VA warns it may shut down hospitals to close budget gap - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

VA warns it may shut down hospitals to close budget gap

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Department of Veterans Affairs says it may have to shut down some hospitals next month if Congress does not address a $2.5 billion shortfall for the current budget year.

The VA told Congress Monday that it needs to cover shortfalls caused by an increased demand by veterans for health care, including costly treatments for hepatitis C.

The VA said it wants authority to use up to $3 billion from the new Veterans Choice program to close the budget gap, with as much as $500 million going to treat hepatitis C. A single pill for the liver-wasting infection can cost up to $1,000.

The Choice program, the centerpiece of a VA overhaul approved last year, makes it easier for veterans to receive federally paid medical care from local doctors.

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