Veterans' health care bill passes Senate


Veterans suffering from exposure to burn pits and other toxic sources are closer to health coverage Tuesday following Senate passage of the Honoring our PACT Act, a bill Republicans surprisingly walked away from a week earlier.

Veterans had camped outside the Capitol for several days following the bill’s unexpected rejection a week ago. They had gathered July 27 for the bill’s expected passage. Tuesday, the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 passed 86 to 11. Robinson was in the Ohio National Guard when he served in Iraq and Kosovo. He died on 2020 from illnesses stemming from toxic exposure.

The Department of Defense estimates that 3.5 million combat veterans were exposed to toxic trash fires and other sources of toxic emissions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Southwest Asia over the past 20 years. Roughly half of those veterans don’t have health coverage.

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“For hundreds of thousands of veterans of all generations, for our all-volunteer military, this bill puts us on a path to finally paying the cost of war,” said Sen. Jon Tester after the vote.

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