Senate passes veteran burn pit health care bill

Veterans suffering from exposure to toxic burn pits and Agent Orange stepped closer to health coverage Thursday as the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved granting free medical care as a benefit to five decades of people who have served in the military.

By an 84 to 14 vote, lawmakers passed the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022. Robinson was an Ohio National Guard soldier who died from lung cancer in 2020, a decade after tours to Kosovo and Iraq.

If signed into law, the bill would be the broadest expansion of military health benefits in decades. U.S. Sen Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, carried the bill in the Senate. Sen. Steve Daines, a Montana Republican, wasn’t voting Thursday.

The Department of Defense estimates there are at least 3.5 million veterans potentially exposed, basically everyone who served after Sept. 11, 2001. There are at least 22 different health problems related to burn pit exposure, many not materializing until years later. Then number of Montana veterans exposed to toxic substances is as high as 60,000, or roughly two-thirds of the veterans living in the state today. Montana’s veterans make up 10.6% of the state population, third highest in the nation

View Source