Senate Panel Adds $1 Billion To VA Funding For Private Care For Patients The funding boost was not publicized by leaders of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. In addition, two members of the House are hoping to stop VA researchers from running tests on dogs. Representatives from both parties want to protect dogs from medical research at the Veterans Affairs Department. Disturbed that the department has subjected some dogs to lobotomies and spinal cord research, two dog lovers in the House, Nevada Democrat Dina Titus and Republican Dave Brat from Virginia, have introduced a bill (HR 3197) to prohibit any medical testing there that causes dog pain. It’s a multi-front attack. The two earlier this year got an amendment added to a spending bill (HR 3219) that would have barred the VA from spending money on dog research. (Sipkin, 12/4) CQ: Mystery $1 Billion For Private Care Emerges In Veterans Bill CQ: Lawmakers Press VA To End Medical Testing On Dogs Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee members may not have known they plunged an additional $1 billion into a private care access program for veterans during a markup Wednesday. The boost to private medical care would be directed to the Veterans Choice Program, a temporary program rolled out in November 2014 designed to help patients who have to wait too long or drive too far to a VA-run facility. The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee confirmed late Thursday the $1 billion was included when asked about it by CQ. (Mejdrich, 12/1) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.