Potential for Reducing U.S. Financial Support and Ending VA Involvement in Medical Program for Filipino Veterans

HRD-77-95: Published: May 20, 1977. Publicly Released: May 20, 1977.

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The Veterans Administration (VA) operates a medical care program in the Philippines, which was established as a temporary program almost 30 years ago. Laws were passed extending the program, changing funding from grants to reimbursable contracts, and expanding benefits to include nonservice-connected illnesses.

In 1976, treatment for nonservice-connected illnesses represented about 96% of the care provided under the grant program. Limiting care to service-connected illness and funding by a fixed-sum grant program would result in considerable savings and eliminate the need for VA involvement. Arguments cited against reduction of the program included possible adverse effects on United States Philippines relations and on the quality of medical care. GAO believes that reductions would be consistent with the temporary nature of the program, the Philippines' growing self-reliance, and their increased ability to absorb costs.

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