UPDATED 6:36 PM PT – Thursday, November 11, 2021
The Biden administration announced its expanding benefits for U.S. veterans who have been exposed to “containments and environmental hazards” during their service overseas.
During a speech on Thursday, Joe Biden said his administration plans on improving their understanding of the health effects of veterans exposed to toxic environments during their service overseas. He assured the measures would include finding any links between toxic burn pits and developing lung cancer, as well as other rare respiratory ailments.
“I want you to know that our administration is going to meet the sacred obligation that we owe you,” Biden stated. “We’re going to work with Congress, Republicans and Democrats together to make sure our veterans receive the world class benefits that they’ve earned and meet the sacred specific care, specific needs that they each individually need.”
According to the White House, the Veterans Administration will now “create presumptions of exposure when the evidence of an environmental exposure and the associated health risks are strong in the aggregate but hard to prove on an individual basis.”
The Biden administration is moving to make it easier for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who were exposed to toxic air from environmental hazards, such as burn pits, to qualify for health care and assistance from the VA.@nickschifrin reports. https://t.co/KS5DIvofpZ pic.twitter.com/dghkFvD8wn
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) November 11, 2021
Biden said he suspects his late son Beau’s exposure to burn pits while serving in Iraq may have had a part in his death. “Because of his exposure to burn pits, in my view, I can’t prove it yet, he came back with stage four glioblastoma,” Biden mentioned back in 2019. “Eighteen months he lived, knowing he was going to die.”
Biden said “anybody who was anywhere near those burn pits, that’s all they have to show and they get covered, they get all their health care covered.” Although veterans express there’s still much to be done, many said Biden’s move is a great first step.