Michigan veteran calls the signing of PACT Act “bittersweet”
Kevin Hensley of Michigan is encouraging veterans impacted by toxic burn pit exposure to sign up for coverage.
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - President Joe Biden is calling the PACT Act the single most significant expansion of VA health care in 30 years.
“We have only one truly sacred obligation: to equip those we send into harm’s way, and to care for them and their families when they come home,” said Biden Wednesday at a signing ceremony for the legislation at the White House.
The signing was in front of a room full of advocates; many of them veterans sick from toxic burn pit exposure like Kevin Hensley from Michigan.
Hensley served eight tours of duty in the Middle East. He was later diagnosed with constrictive bronchiolitis.
“My diagnosis happened in 2017,” said Hensley. “We’ve been fighting ever since.”
Hensley says this day is bittersweet.
“It’s very emotional,” said Hensley. “It’s great. It feels wonderful that 3.5 million veterans and their families are going to get the healthcare and benefits they deserve.”
The PACT Act promises to make it easier for veterans to quality for VA services, remove the burden of proof for 23 specific conditions, and improve research on toxic exposures.
Hensley is encouraging impacted families to sign up for benefits.
“If you were deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, and you’re covered under the PACT Act, and you haven’t registered for the burn pit registry, please get on that burn pit registry,” said Hensley.
The White House says many veterans remain unaware of their eligibility. As of November of last year, the VA launched a proactive campaign to inform and to encourage veterans to file claims related to exposures.
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