The House of Representatives yesterday passed legislation (H.R. 3236) that would allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to use $3.4 billion in Veterans Choice Program funds to pay non-VA providers for care provided since May in the VA Care in the Community programs. The current VA budget faces a $2.6 billion shortfall, in part due to higher than anticipated costs for new hepatitis C treatments. The legislation, included in a bill reauthorizing federal highway and transit programs for three months, also would make a number of changes to the Veterans Choice Program and require the VA to develop a plan to consolidate all non-VA programs into a single “Choice” program. The Senate could take up the measure later tonight.