VA Health Care:

Alternative Health Insurance Reduces Demand for VA Care

HRD-92-79: Published: Jun 30, 1992. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the potential impact of employer mandates and universal coverage on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system.

GAO found that: (1) a 1987 survey estimated that 463,000 veterans used VA hospitals, and 66,000 veterans were not covered by private health insurance; (2) universal health insurance coverage or employer-mandated insurance could reduce VA inpatient services by 18 percent; (3) a universal health insurance plan could result in a 47-percent decrease in demand for VA hospital care and a 41-percent decrease in outpatient care; (4) implementing employer-mandated coverage would not result in a reduction in VA-sponsored nursing home services; (5) universal health coverage could reduce the demand for VA nursing home care if the plan provided coverage of long-term care services; and (6) VA health care systems should be included in discussions on nationwide health care systems.