Hoeven: Senate Passes Legislation to Provide VA Health Care to Veterans Impacted by Toxic Exposure

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Committee, today issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate passed legislation to provide Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care to more than 3.5 million veterans from all eras suffering from conditions related to toxic exposure. 

“This legislation provides needed coverage to veterans exposed to toxic substances during their time serving and defending our nation and who now suffer from chronic illness,” said Hoeven. “At the same time, the bill supports improved training for VA staff and streamlines claims processing to help veterans more promptly receive the health care and benefits they have earned. This helps fulfill the promise we make to those who serve in the Armed Forces, and comes as part of our ongoing efforts to ensure veterans can access the health care they need both through the VA and from providers in their home communities.” 

Among other priorities, the legislation:

  • Adds 23 burn pit and toxic exposure-related conditions to VA’s list of service presumptions.
  • Streamlines the VA’s review process and creates a framework for establishing future service-connected presumptions related to toxic exposure.
  • Expands Agent Orange exposure to veterans who served in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Guam, American Samoa, and Johnston Atoll.
  • Requires VA to provide standardized training to improve toxic exposure disability claims adjudications.