Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined bipartisan legislation to expand Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care coverage for post 9/11 combat veterans exposed to toxic chemicals. The Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act is an important first step in making sure that veterans exposed to toxins during their military service get access to health care and treatment. This legislation unanimously passed the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee this month and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
“Our military veterans have sacrificed so much for our country, and it’s crucial to me that we always get them the support they have earned and deserve,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “This legislation is an important first step in making sure that veterans who served after 9/11 and were exposed to toxic chemicals can access the health care and treatment they may need without delay. I’ll continue working to support Nevada’s veterans and get them every available resource.”
The Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act:
- Increases the period of eligibility for VA health care for post-9/11 combat veterans from five years to ten years and allows a one-year open enrollment period for veterans who did not enroll after their discharge;
- Provides for toxic exposure screening for all veterans, increases training in toxic exposure for VA health care providers, and mandates that the VA reach out to veterans to provide them critical information on care, benefits, and resources;
- Requires the federal government to do more to study and collect data on veterans health.
Senator Cortez Masto is a champion in the Senate advocating for our veterans and their families. In December, her legislation to protect VA benefits for student veterans was signed into law. She recently introduced bipartisan legislation to make it easier for veterans who have a service-related medical condition to get the benefits they are entitled to. She has passed legislation through the annual National Defense Authorization Acts to help veterans exposed to Agent Orange get the treatment they need and improve the management of privatized military housing to prioritize the needs of military families. As part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2021, Senator Cortez Masto secured measures to improve mental health services for members of the National Guard and Reserves, support Navy members in getting the retirement benefits owed to them, and increase the transparency and efficiency of the Department of Defense’s TRICARE medical billing practices.