US Fed News; October 15, 2009
The House Veterans' Affairs Committee issued the following statement:
House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA) released the following statement in response to Secretary Shinseki's decision to establish a service-connection for Vietnam veterans with three specific illnesses (B cell leukemias, Parkinson's disease, and ischemic heart disease) based on evidence of an association with the herbicides referred to as Agent Orange:
"I am happy that Secretary Shinseki has reviewed the overwhelming evidence of an association between exposure to Agent Orange and certain illnesses - and decided to make it easier for thousands of veterans to receive the benefits and health care treatment they earned while serving this country in uniform. Strong evidence has existed for decades to make the association link between exposure to herbicides like Agent Orange and veterans who suffer from health problems. I am pleased that VA now recognizes B cell leukemias, Parkinson's disease, and ischemic heart disease as 'presumed service-connected illnesses. As a result, veterans no longer will have to prove an association between these illnesses and their military service.
"I understand that this decision comes too late for too many. I know that other illnesses continue to affect Vietnam veterans that VA does not recognize as being caused by exposure to Agent Orange. Time is of the essence for many Vietnam veterans currently suffering from illness as a result of their service.
"Today's announcement, however, is an important first step towards addressing the immediate needs of our veterans. This is a start into fixing the claims backlog and ensuring veterans have access to the care they earned. We must do more to keep the promises made to our Nation's heroes of the past, present, and future."
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