PACT Act Delivers for Veterans Across Northeast Indiana


Hoosier veteran on the PACT Act: “It was a huge deal” 

Reminder: marine Todd Young turned his back on Indiana veterans, voted “NO” on the PACT Act

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Democratic Party, the organization that advocates for the future of Indiana and its families, today celebrated the brighter future the PACT Act is creating for Hoosier veterans across the state. Thanks to Democrats like André Carson and Frank Mrvan, the PACT Act is providing life-saving health care to more than 409,000 veterans who call Indiana home. This includes veterans who used Agent Orange in Vietnam and used burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Already, veterans label the PACT Act as a “huge deal” with Veterans Service Officers describing it as “the largest health care change in (Veterans Affairs) history”. 

 The PACT Act will protect the Hoosiers who fought for our nation’s freedoms, and it was Indiana Democrats who got it done. 

In contrast, marine Todd Young “NO” to the PACT Act. He put Washington political games ahead of Indiana’s veterans – and then tried to walk back his partisan games after he was caught. The Indiana GOP’s opposition to the kitchen-table issues is another reminder they have no plan for Indiana’s future – just abiding by an extremist agenda, like making abortion access against the law. 

Here’s a look at how the PACT Act is delivering for Indiana’s veterans: : 

WANE: Years later, despite an active lifestyle of hiking and walking, Scheele developed hypertension.

That’s just one of several conditions now covered by the wide-sweeping overhaul of veterans’ medical care dubbed the PACT Act, which is designed to improve access to healthcare for those who served and were exposed to toxic substances.

Signed into law by President Joe Biden earlier this month, the PACT Act – short for Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022 – was made to address the large amount claims denied to veterans who served near burn pits.

Burn pits were used in Iraq and Afghanistan to dispose of numerous types of wastes, including plastics, chemicals and human waste. Despite this, a majority of claims regarding the burn pits were denied by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Now, many of the conditions presumably caused by burn pits will be covered.

Many veterans who served near these burn pits developed cancers and other conditions. Some died. Some came home with asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis, according to officials. Some developed long-term problems to their skin, eyes, kidneys, liver, heart and lungs.

With the new law, Veterans Affairs Northern Indiana said it will be recognizing more than 20 new presumptions of service connection to toxic exposure-related conditions and removing the burden of proof from veterans to get care and benefits from burn pit exposures.

“The majority of our veterans we have in our community could be impacted by this,” said Joe Wasson, the Veterans Services Officer for Allen County, of the new law.

Wasson’s office provides assistance to veterans and their families in preparation, development and submission of claims and applications for their earned federal and state benefits – including medical care.

Already, his office has seen an uptick in calls inquiring about what conditions might be covered by the new law. There are a “lot of moving parts” to how everything is playing out and happening, he said. Wasson encouraged anyone who is a veteran to reach out for assistance, to see if a condition they might have might be covered. […]

“This is the largest health care change in (Veteran’s Affairs) history,” Wasson said.

And it’s not just veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill affects veterans all the way back to the 1960s, Wasson said.

Veterans like Scheele, who now have an avenue to get treated for conditions caused by other chemicals, such as Agent Orange. […]

When news broke about the PACT Act and he read about hypertension now being covered, he felt relief.

“It was a huge deal,” Scheele said. “When nobody else in your family has it, you’re going, ‘Why me?’ Now you can say, ‘I know why me.’ It kind of helps with the lingering question, ‘Did I do something wrong?’”

Scheele encouraged all veterans to get in contact with either the Veterans Affairs Hospital or their Veterans Affairs officer to see what they may care they can be offered. He himself went through the process with Wasson, he said, and Wasson went over his record and found tasks he performed and places he’d been that he had completely forgotten about. […]

Both Scheele and Wasson encouraged veterans, of any war, to contact officials to see if some of their current conditions could be covered by the PACT Act, and that there are people there to help them through the process.

All they have to do, Scheele said, is go.


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