With the House ready to move on a bipartisan, comprehensive toxic exposure bill as early as next week, your voice as a constituent is vital to ensure your representative supports these much-needed reforms.
The Honoring Our PACT Act offers health care for veterans exposed to toxic substances, seeks to reform the presumptive illness process, and adds presumptive illnesses for multiple generations of veterans. Along with adding many presumptive illnesses for burn pits, the bill would make several significant improvements to benefit eligibility, to include:
- Caring for long-overlooked veterans by recognizing radiation exposures for veterans who served in the Enewetak Atoll and Palomares, Spain, and Agent Orange exposure for those who served in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.
- Adding hypertension as an Agent Orange presumptive illness.
- Eliminating the sunsetting for benefits related to Gulf War illnesses.
[TAKE ACTION: Ask Your Representative to Pass the Honoring Our PACT Act]
The House’s move comes in the wake of the Senate passing a standalone health care bill that would extend VA health care for combat-deployed veterans from five to 10 years. The Senate’s vote was part of a planned, three-phase approach that Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.) negotiated with Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), the committee’s ranking member.
While MOAA supports the Senate health care bill, it is not nearly as robust as the House version. Those who deployed earlier in the Global War on Terror and separated prior to 2011 would not have a clear path to health care under the Senate bill.
Now is the time for veterans’ groups and advocates to stand together and support the strongest possible package. Outreach from constituents is vital as lawmakers decide how to vote; take action now and ask your House member to support the Honoring Our PACT Act.
The More Members We Have, the More Influence We Have Over Our Benefits
MOAA is committed to protecting the rights of servicemembers and their families. Lend your voice and support these efforts today. Because the larger our voice is, the greater our impact will be.