Path To Prosperity Budget Leaves Vets Behind

The alternative 2012 budget released yesterday by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., dubbed "The Path To Prosperity," looks like a rocky road for the Veterans Affairs Department and veterans.

Ryan's budget plan, which reads more like a polemic than a budget, sets the 2012 VA budget at $128 billion, down $4.2 billion from the department's proposed $132.2 billion plan and then bumps it up to $129 billion in 2013.

These proposed cuts by Ryan, who is not a veteran, come as VA prepares to deal with providing services to 2.2 million Afghanistan and Iraq veterans, 210,000 of whom are unemployed while another 107,000 veterans of all wars are homeless, according to a recent report by the advocacy group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Though Ryan wants to chop the overall VA budget, he's seemingly not averse to spending some of what's left over to aid a Wisconsin-based company that develops electronic health record systems, Epic Systems Corp.

This February, Ryan was one of the five Wisconsin lawmakers who sent a letter to the VA and Defense departments suggesting they consider a commercial electronic health record of the kind sold by Epic for their planned joint record system.

Maybe Ryan will throw a few extra bucks into VA's 2012 budget to train homeless vets in the MUMPS programming language, which is used by both Epic and VA in its Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture.

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