The Veterans Health Administration: A Preliminary Analysis of the Influence of <i>The Independent Budget</i> and Bureaucratic Performance on Funding Trends

  • Elizabeth Kidder
Keywords: Veterans Health Administration, VHA, budget analysis, The Independent Budget, IB, Department of Veterans Affairs, VA, performance measurement, public budgeting


The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is the largest integrated health system in the U.S. with 7.9 million U.S. veterans enrolled.  Both the number of veterans seeking VHA health services and the cost of delivering such services continue to rise as a result of myriad factors. Kidder examines VHA funding outcomes over the past 10 years in light of the participation of veterans' service organizations (VSOs) in committee hearings; the reliance of lawmakers upon The Independent Budget (IB); and the impact of new performance-based management initiatives on budget outcomes.  Her article highlights the political nature of the VHA budget and the influential role of VSOs in funding outcomes.

Author Biography

Elizabeth Kidder
Elizabeth (Betsy) Kidder is a Ph.D. candidate in the Trachtenberg School and is concurrently pursuing a medical degree. Her area of interest is veterans' health care and her degree concentration is Health Policy. Betsy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from Boston College and a Master of Public Health degree from The George Washington University. Betsy has worked with the Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program, Futures Group, the Global Health Council, and the United Nations World Food Programme. Most recently Betsy is engaged in a study led by the National Academy of Public Administration examining the Veterans Administration's effective management of care for veterans as they transition from active duty to civilian life. The author would like to thank the editing staff of Policy Perspectives for their valuable assistance, specifically Sarah Hassaine, Matt Kazan, and editors-in-chief Christine Brown and Eva DuGoff. The author also thanks Dr. Philip Joyce for his feedback on previous versions of this paper.