Monday, June 20, 2016


Problems continue to unfold at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA has had a series of recent personnel changes, one of them the departure of the man filling the office of Undersecretary for Veterans Benefits.
So, as a problem topped with another problem, in comes
Mr. Thomas Murphy (himself a veteran,, moving up from his Director, Compensation and Pension in less than a year to become Acting Undersecretary for Veterans Benefits.
Mr. Murphy is a hard worker, and came to his earlier position at Compensation and Pension in 2010 where he oversaw VA's entire program for reviewing veterans' disability claims for approval or disapproval. His business background was at Home Depot.
Why is Mr. Murphy a problem? Because his six years at Compensation and Pension are fairly judged to be a relative failure in serving America's veterans. We'll focus here on two of these failures.
First, his determination and success in "holding the line" on Agent Orange claims. The two most visible groups he's fought on this are the Blue Water Navy Veterans and the C-123 Veterans Association.
In 2012 Mr. Murphy wrote his denial of a C-123 veteran's Agent Orange exposure claims, "In conclusion, there is no conclusive evidence that TCDD exposure causes any adverse health effects." He wrote that to dismiss expert input from the CDC confirming the veteran's exposure.

TCDD, the toxin in Agent Orange, is recognized by science to be the most toxic of the toxins, and definitely causes "adverse health effects." VA itself (but not Mr. Murphy) understands that it is a highly toxic substance.

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