October 15, 2015 - Two weeks ago, the House and Senate veterans affairs committees quietly allowed a provision of the Agent Orange Act of 1991 to expire. How significant that will be for Vietnam veterans and their benefits is disputed.
Committee staff and the Department of Veterans Affairs agree the change has not impacted the VA secretary’s authority to decide to expand the list of diseases presumed connected to wartime herbicide exposure.
But veteran advocates and at least one lawmaker suggest the change is intended to dampen VA cost risks and perhaps ease political pressure on the secretary and Congress facing a potential tsunami of disability claims.
That scenario assumes that a final review of medical science will establish a stronger link between Agent Orange and hypertension (high blood pressure), a condition that the Center for Disease Control says is so common it afflicts a third of the U.S. adult population read more>>>