White House efforts to aid veterans effected by burn pits
U.S. Senator Klobuchar has releases a statement regarding the recent advancement of medical care for veterans exposed to toxic chemicals in Afghanistan burn pits.
The recent improvements made by the Biden administration include: establishing a network of specialized health care providers, creating a call center for veterans, and assisting the VA in providing timely care for veterans and service members who are experiencing symptoms.
Klobuchar has been an advocate for veterans who have been exposed to toxic substances for a while now, introducing bipartisan legislation that would offer medical and other assistance to those exposed.
From the veteran’s perspective, Julie Tomasca hopes that the policies are put into place as soon as possible to help with the issue. "We are not asking for anything extra. We are asking as military members and veterans to have the benefits that we earned to have access to adequate medical care, preventive medicine treatment,” she says.
Julie is a service member who has experienced those nasty effects from the burn pits. She says, “It’s [like] an IED that takes ten years to go off in your system. It’s not an immediate illness or sickness you would get from a physical injury. It takes time and is kind of underlying as all those exposures sort of buildup."
She explains that the earlier treatment and diagnosis comes to those effected, the better. She says, “So early prevention is absolutely paramount in so many of these diseases and part of that is having a preventive health program, where they are looking at veterans and know your exposure, and then these are the mile stones you need to meet and let’s check you along the way. Instead of being reactive and waiting for that veteran to be at wits end with stage four cancer. And treatment options are just not an option anymore."
Amy Klobuchar’s full statement:
“When we ask our young men and women to defend our nation, we make a promise to be there for them when they return home. That is why I have fought for years to ensure our veterans and service members exposed to burn pits receive the care and benefits they need. Today the Biden administration announced that it will take important steps to address the health effects of exposures to toxic substances, including establishing a network of specialized health care providers, creating a call center for veterans, and assisting the VA in providing timely care for veterans and service members who are experiencing symptoms. This will build on my bipartisan bill with Senator Thom Tillis to create a VA center to focus on treating individuals exposed to burn pits, which became law in September 2018 as the first major federal action on this issue. This announcement marks important progress in getting our veterans and service members the care they’ve earned and I will continue to work to move these efforts forward.”