The Honoring our PACT Act, which addresses burnpits exposures for thousands of veterans, also included several other provisions for a variety of toxic military contamination issues. Notably, the PACT Act included the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The new legislation provides the ability for those impacted by Camp Lejeune contaminated drinking water to pursue claims and legal recourse previously unavailable to victims. Many toxic water survivors at Camp Lejeune are expressing hope that this will lead to accountability they deserve.
In addition, the PACT Act ensures veterans can receive high-quality health care screenings and services related to potential toxic exposures. The PACT Act also expands access to VA health care services for veterans exposed during their military service. It further codifies VA’s new process for evaluating and determining presumption of exposure and service connection for various chronic conditions when the evidence of a military environmental exposure and the associated health risks are strong in the aggregate but hard to prove on an individual basis.
The legislation also removes the need for certain veterans and their survivors to prove service connection if they are diagnosed with one of 23 specific conditions. Plus, the PACT Act requires the VA to conduct new studies of veterans who served in Southwest Asia during the Gulf War and analyses of post-9/11 veterans’ health trends.
The bill also ensures veterans get the care they need. This includes ensuring that they are screened for toxic exposure and that VA personnel have the appropriate education and training. It delivers critical resources to VA to ensure it can deliver timely access to services and benefits for all veterans eligible – including those already enrolled. The PACT Act provides VA with mechanisms to enhance claims processing and to increase the workforce. The bill also invests in VA health care facilities by authorizing 31 major medical health clinics and research facilities in 19 states.
For a full fact sheet on the legislation from the White House, click here.
This is a developing story. We will have a complete breakdown of the legislation, those that voted for and against it, and other items in a detailed report in the coming days.
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