WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation that Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) co-sponsored, the Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act, to expand Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care coverage for all Post-9/11 combat veterans – including those exposed to toxic chemicals, but for whom it has been difficult or impossible to determine a service-connection to their disability – has passed the United States Senate. Approximately 3.5 million Post-9/11 combat veterans may have experienced some level of exposure to burn pits during their service, and many are now living with undiagnosed illnesses, but nearly one-third of these veterans are unable to access VA care under current law.
“We need to do everything we can to honor and protect the millions of American veterans who have heroically served our country and may have been exposed to toxins during their service,” said Senator Rosen. “That’s why I’m proud to see the Senate has passed the bipartisan bill that I co-sponsored to provide much-needed care for our veterans whose health was put at risk.”
The Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act would:
- Expand the period of eligibility for VA health care for all Post-9/11 combat veterans – including those exposed to burn pits – from five years to ten years and allow a one-year open enrollment period for veterans who did not enroll after their discharge;
- Provide toxic exposure screening for all veterans, increase training in toxic exposure for VA health care providers, and mandate that the VA reach out to veterans to provide them with critical information on care, benefits, and resources;
- Require the federal government to do more to study and collect data on veterans’ health.
Senator Rosen is committed to fighting for our nation’s veterans, and she has introduced numerous bipartisan bills to help Nevada’s veterans succeed in their transition to civilian life. This legislation includes the Veteran Jobs Opportunity Act to help veterans start small businesses in underserved communities by creating a small business startup tax credit, the Veteran Education Empowerment Act to establish and improve Student Veterans Centers at universities to help student veterans, and the Hire Student Veterans Act to provide an enhanced tax credit to businesses that hire veterans who are using their GI benefits and taking advantage of work opportunities while still in school.