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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Shinseki Blocks Hearing on Agent Orange Study

At the beginning of this year, I featured a story on three Vietnam veterans that all suffered from a series of ailments that they are convinced were caused by their exposure to Agent Orange. None have officially been compensated by the government despite overwhelming evidence that their sickness was caused by their tours in Vietnam. All say that they are just three of thousands suffering and not being recognized by the government.

Now comes word that VA director Eric Shinseki has intervened and cut off an investigation into Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki met with Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, last month to ask that he cancel a hearing on the secretary’s controversial decision to add three diseases to the list of Vietnam veteran illnesses presumed caused by exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used in that war.

Akaka reluctantly agreed, an informed source told Military Update. The VA thus avoided a brighter public spotlight, so far, on a decision that will help tens of thousands of veterans but also will add $13.6 billion to VA compensation claims in a single year.

Akaka and Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), a committee member, are pressing Shinseki outside of the hearing process to explain last October’s decision to add heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and B-cell leukemia to the list of illnesses presumed caused by Agent Orange.

Several weeks after their meeting, Akaka followed up on a March letter to Shinseki with a new one, this one asking the secretary for more details on the consequences of presuming service-connection for ischemic heart disease to any veteran who can show he stepped foot in Vietnam.

The medical costs related to treated any number of illnesses related to Agent Orange can be hundreds of thousands and even millions yearly.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Forget agent orange.. the govt cannot afford to add any more cancers and get ready for gulf war. Saw two cases of SNUC
a cancer of nasal cavity and sinuses in two young veterans. Watch out over next five years, we may be up for our next AO with no details coming out yet. The problem with AO is the money is overspent on prostate cancer and PTSD {some of which are less lethal} while other rare but lethal cancers are left out including the case you mentioned last year.

All they have to do is stop the waste at VA and they can cover all the real and suspected cases. The real abuse of money is done by the Universities which provide residency program training/education while charging a fortune and purchase of equipment which is not needed. The other internal abuse is, it takes three people at VA to do what it takes one person to do in competitive world.