Veterans are Facing a Severe Health Crisis">Veterans are Facing a Severe Health Crisis

June 17, 2022 11:02 pm Published by

Veterans are Facing a Severe Health Crisis

and Americans Need to Pay Attention!

Veterans have always fought and died to protect the values of American citizens. Unfortunately when our vets return home, the accessibility to essential resources and healthcare are not always made available. It is true not all veterans seek help from the government; however, many veterans have feelings of being disconnected from “regular life” when they return home and many feel as if America has changed or failed them. This may not be far from the truth. An article from City Journal states, “Several years ago, headlines exposed stories of veterans dying due to delayed care.

In 2015, the VA issued a report admitting that 307,000 veterans had died while waiting for the agency to process their enrollment requests. This followed stories of 40 veterans dying, with more than 1,400 more waiting for appointments, at VA health-care facilities in Phoenix. In an elaborate scheme, VA managers tried to cover up their malfeasance.”[1] Recently the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill that is stalling on the Senate floor. The bill in question is called the Honoring our PACT Act, proposed by House Veterans Affairs Chair, Mark Takano (D-Calif.).

This legislation seeks to expand healthcare for our veterans that would cover 23 potential health conditions veterans could suffer due to working around burn pits.[2] Burn pits are used to dispose of unnecessary waste in American military camps.[3] These pits have been potentially linked to ten or more different types of cancer.[4] This bill has stalled due to GOP opposition. Many Republican representatives and senators fear that providing care to so many veterans in need would be too pricey. All the Democrats in the House voted to pass this bill while only 34 Republicans voted in favor.[5] One of the major reasons this bill has been heavily impeded outside of the price tag is the possible credence it would give to military members affected by breathing in Agent Orange chemicals during the Vietnam War. Veterans who served in Vietnam or Afghanistan have been linked to similar ailments including, but not limited to: respiratory cancers, Hodgkin’s disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Parkinson’s-like Syndromes, including Parkinsonism, etc. [4&6] If this bill succeeds in becoming law, it would be a great step for the Veteran Affairs branch along with bipartisan policy.

The Honoring our PACT Act would help make healthcare more readily available to a larger number of veterans. If passed, veterans would most likely have to prove that these symptoms were caused by their time in the service, which may be difficult to accomplish. If this were the case, more veterans may appeal to the courts instead of Veterans Affairs officials. Our veterans deserve more from us and our elected officials. This is a long standing issue that is not fully captured by this quote, but it does help summarize the issue at hand. Denis McDonagh, United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs while on NPR radio stated when referring to burn pits, “One example is burning trash, other pollution or just sand. I think it’s a failing of the United States government that it took until now that anybody in that 30-year window has gotten any payment or benefits for the maladies that they’ve suffered in the meantime.”[7] America has not only failed our veterans, but we have forgotten their service and sacrifice for our country. It is not enough to pay homage and show signs of respect. It is integral that our veterans get the proper care that they need in order for this vicious cycle of Veterans Affairs failures to finally cease.

[1]McAuliff,“Senate GOP Puts Up Roadblocks to Bipartisan House Bill for Veterans’ Burn Pit Care.”,www.KHN.org,May 15,2022 (p.1)

[2]Brooks,“National Commander Dillard on Senate passage of PACT Act: If not now, when?”,www.legion.org,May 3,2022 (p.2)

[3]Shane,“What are military burn pits? And why are veterans worried about them?”,www.Militarytimes.com, March 29,2022 (p.2)

[4]Copyright © 2022 Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD. All Rights Reserved.Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD,“What Are Symptoms of Exposure to Military Burn Pits?”,https://cck-law.com/veterans-law, (Graphics p.3-5)

[5]Portuondo,“House approves bill to help veterans exposed to toxics.”,www.eenews.net,March 3,2022 (p.1)

[6]Hill and Ponton PA, Disability Attorneys, “Agent Orange Diseases and Symptoms Breakdown!”, www.hillandponton.com,January 2, 2022 (p.2)

[7] NPR Interview, Said by,Denis McDonagh, United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs.“The head of the VA says the U.S. failed some veterans for 30 years.”,npr.org,October 22,2021,(Transcript p.8)

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This post was written by Marsha

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