WASHINGTON – Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) today applauded U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the Honoring Our PACT Act, H.R. 3967, which would ensure health care coverage for post-9/11 veterans who are suffering from the effects of exposure to toxic substances during their military service.
“The federal government has an obligation to take care of veterans who are sick today or may become sick in the future because of exposure to toxic substances while they were serving our nation,” said WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington. “I want to thank Chairman Mark Takano and the other co-sponsors of the Honoring Our PACT Act for making this important legislation a top priority, and I urge the Senate to continue their work to swiftly take up and pass this meaningful toxic exposure piece of legislation.”
Learn more about how Wounded Warrior Project is advocating for wounded veterans
Exposure to open-air burn pits and other environmental hazards is a major health issue for post-9/11 veterans. Those exposed have developed cancers, autoimmune disorders, skin diseases, respiratory illnesses, and other conditions. An estimated 3.5 million service members and veterans may have been exposed to toxic substances in Iraq, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and surrounding areas.
The intent of the Honoring Our PACT Act is to recognize and establish the federal government’s responsibility to provide health care and disability compensation to veterans fighting the effects of toxic exposure connected to their military service. Specifically, the Honoring Our PACT Act would:
- Grant VA health care enrollment eligibility to any veteran who suffered toxic exposures while in service, regardless of their service-connected disability claim status.
- Create a list of presumptive disabilities for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances.
- Concede exposure to burn pits and other airborne hazards for veterans who served in areas where they were known to be used.
- Ensure VA adopts a framework to establish new presumptive disabilities for all exposures in a timely manner based on scientific data.
- Develop a training module to ensure VA providers and benefits personnel can properly identify, treat, and assess the impact of illnesses related to toxic exposures.
- Require a toxic exposure questionnaire at the beginning of every VA primary care appointment.
The passage of the toxic exposure legislation is one of WWP’s legislative priorities during the 117th Congress. Learn more about how WWP works with our nation’s leaders to improve the lives of wounded veterans and their families.
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.