Indiana congressman has concerns for veterans exposed to chemicals

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Veterans who have been exposed to chemicals, Agent Orange, and burn pits may no longer be getting the short end of the stick with the PACT Act. But, though the new law provides for people exposed those chemicals to get proper treatment and benefits, an Indiana congressman has some concerns.

“We do not want to punish individuals who are taking time to care to ask the proper questions so that veterans…aren’t being rushed through the process,” said Rep. Frank Mrvan (D), who represents northwest Indiana, in an oversight hearing on the implementation of the PACT Act.

“We have to be aware of the fact that that is a deterrent and not something that attracts people,” said Mrvan, about possible ways veterans could get bogged down and not get their benefits quickly.

The PACT Act expands and extends eligibility for VA health care for Veterans with toxic exposures and veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras; adds 20 plus more presumptive conditions for burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic exposures; adds more presumptive-exposure locations for Agent Orange and radiation; requires VA to provide a toxic exposure screening to every veteran enrolled in VA health care and helps the government improve research, staff education, and treatment related to toxic exposures.

That government verbiage means it’s now easier to get help if you are suffering because of conditions at those locations.

Mrvan is concerned that some of the processes, which are notoriously native to government programs, could bog people down and keep them from getting the help they need in a timely manner.

“When you create obstacles and speed through those process, people would be less-inclined and then you would ruin the reputation that is designed to be able to create quality healthcare.”

Mrvan said he wants to see the federal government continue to allow conversations about the process, so that efficiency improves.

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