[The Fiscal Times] The $1,000 Pill That Could Cripple the VA’s Budget

The Department of Veterans Affairs, still reeling from a scandal over the negligent treatment of veterans seeking medical care that may have contributed to some deaths, has a new problem on its hands.

While struggling to beef up its medical staff and sharply reduce the time it takes veterans to get appointments at health facilities, the staggering cost of Sovaldi, a specialty drug to treat Hepatitis C, is threatening to blow a $1.3 billion hole in the agency’s budget in the next two years. It’s a fiscal crisis that could force deep agency cutbacks in other areas.

The issue first surfaced in July when the embattled VA gave the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee a $17.6 billion wish list of resources to begin delivering high quality and timely health care to veterans. VA officials complained that the unexpectedly high cost of using Sovaldi was eating away at their budget.

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