Health

The Senate has passed a bill to care for veterans ’burn pit

Sponsor of the bill, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) The statement said the chamber would re-vote on the event, which it took in March next week. Biden, who after the campaign demanded recognition of the health risks of the burn pit, is likely to quickly sign the bill into law.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts legislation will increase federal spending by more than $ 300 billion over 10 years. This has led to opposition from groups such as the nonprofit committee responsible for the federal budget, which has said it supports wider coverage, but this should be offset by cuts in other costs.

The U.S. military stopped using burn pits at bases in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere almost a decade ago, but estimates that at least 3.5 million veterans were exposed to enough toxic fumes to cause breathing problems and some cancers. But even with this recognition, the Department of Veterans Affairs continues to reject most of the disability claims related to burn pit exposure.

Between 2007 and 2020, 12,582 veterans reported being linked to burn pit exposure, according to VA Deputy Executive Director for Policy and Procedures Lorraine Carson. Told members of parliament In September 2020. The agency approved 2828, or about 20 percent of these claims.

A VA spokesman cited a statement by POLITICO VA Secretary Dennis McDonough last month in which he compared the impact of legislation to the 1991 Agent Orange Act, which expanded the more than 2 million Vietnam War veterans who were exposed to a dangerous toxin.

“We support the expansion of VA access to health care under the PACT Act, and we will work to ensure that the extension of access to health care does not lead to delays or delays in care for veterans who are already receiving health care from VA,” McDonough said. Said.

The number of claims is expected to increase in the wake of new legislation requiring the VA to recognize that dozens of cancers, chronic lung disease, asthma, emphysema and other respiratory diseases may be linked to burn pit exposure. . The measure also requires VA providers to include toxic effects in patient questionnaires that may lead to new patients not knowing that their condition may be related to pits.

“Toxic effects affect many veterans; “Some people don’t even know it yet,” said Jen Burch, a communications officer with US veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill “will remove the burden of proof for veterans and provide 80 per cent of veterans who were previously rejected will now receive benefits,” he added.

VA fought for the benefits of reducing the waiting time for veterans. Service members wait an average of 100 days to reimburse benefits; Waiting for more than 250,000.

Prolonged delays in benefits have contributed to a pilot technology program launched in January to reduce waiting times by automating some processes and eliminating steps such as unnecessary doctor visits. At the moment, the pilot program is focused on high pressure monitoring.

Rob Reynolds, VA Officer in charge of the project, Told POLITICO earlier this year Which will benefit judges using this type of technology, who decide cases in an average of 21 days. The VA plans to expand the program to other health conditions, such as asthma, which may be overshadowed by attempts to expand the burn pit.

Adoption of the law is only the beginning, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kans.), A senior member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said at the Senate session. “There is a lot of work to be done and the fact is that the VA has significant challenges as it moves forward to help these veterans.”

Republican sensors. Richard Bury And Tom Tilly North Carolina, Mike Rounds And John Tune From South Dakota, Richard Shelby And Tommy Tuberville Alabama, Mike Lee And Mit Romney Utah, Rand Poly Kentucky, James Lankford Oklahoma, Cynthia Lumis From Wyoming and Mike Crapo And James Rish The state of Idaho voted against the bill.

The Senate has passed a bill to care for veterans ’burn pit

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