Thousands of military veterans who were exposed to chemicals during
decades of secret weapons testing are entitled to up-to-date government
information about possible health hazards but can't get
government-funded health care outside the Department of Veterans Affairs system, a federal judge in Oakland has ruled.
The decision Wednesday by Chief U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken
was a limited victory for veterans' organizations, who had argued that
the VA health care system is overburdened and inadequate for the needs
of those veterans, and that the government should pay their private
Wilken said the government is shielded from such
lawsuits because it has established the VA system to treat veterans,
along with a special Court of Appeals to hear complaints of substandard or withheld care.
veterans "have not shown that the care is inadequate or that they are
unable to address any inadequacies through the (VA) system,"
That's not good enough, said Eugene Illovsky,
a lawyer for the plaintiffs, who include Vietnam Veterans of America,
Swords to Plowshares, other organizations and individual veterans.
VA system is a rationed system," Illovsky said Thursday, noting that
those affected by the ruling may be in the tens of thousands. He said no
decision has been made on an appeal, but "we're going to try to keep
fighting on the issue as best we can."
READ MORE: http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Veterans-win-mixed-ruling-on-exposure-to-chemicals-4687607.php