Uncertain Future Looms for Honoring our PACT Act of 2022
OCTOBER 2022 UPDATE: The PACT ACT is open for enrollment to Veterans. Read more here.
AUGUST 2022 UPDATE: In dramatic fashion, the Senate amended the bill and took another vote on the comprehensive veterans benefits act, which finally passed. Read more about the latest PACT Act passage here.
With a 55-42 vote, The Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022 failed in the Senate and fell short of the 60 votes needed to pass. The legislation would have been the most significant extension of health coverage for Veterans in years. If passed, the PACT Act was projected to cost nearly $280 billion over a decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Notable criticisms of the bill include spending, the VA’s capacity to implement the legislation, and the possible adverse effects on Veterans. The bill now remains unresolved, however, lawmakers and Veterans alike are expected to advocate to push the legislation forward in the coming weeks.
Related Veteran Health Bills Affected
The PACT Act extended coverage to Veterans by including several pieces of legislation within the Act. Groundbreaking bills covered by the PACT Act would have extended the list of presumptive illnesses, expanded health coverage for those exposed to toxins, and made great headways for Veteran healthcare altogether. With the Senate’s recent action, these included bills will remain in limbo until further action is taken.
Veterans Burn Pits Exposure Recognition Act of 2022
Included in Title III of the PACT Act was the Veterans Burn Pits Exposure Recognition Act of 2022. This piece of legislation would have established a presumption that Veterans were exposed to toxic and hazardous substances during military service in certain locations in specified time frames. Additionally, the VA would have provided medical examinations for Veterans that submit service-related disability claims with insufficient evidence.
Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act of 2022
The Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act of 2022 is included in Title IV of the PACT Act. The Mark Tikai Act was named after Kyle Mark Takai, a United States Veteran and Hawaii Representative who died of cancer at age 49. With the legislation failing, Veterans who participated in the cleanup of Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands from January 1, 1977, to December 31, 1980, will not receive presumptive illness status. During this specified time frame, Veterans were exposed to radiation, leading to the development of cancers.
Veterans Agent Orange Exposure Equity Act of 2022
Also covered in Title IV of the PACT Act, the Agent Orange Exposure Act expanded the VA’s list of presumptive illnesses related to certain herbicide agents for Veterans who served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975. The bill would have extended eligibility for VA hospital care, medical services such as treatment, and nursing home care for Veterans exposed to Agent Orange.
Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act of 2022
Title IV also included the Presumptive Benefits Act which established a presumption of service-related conditions associated with toxins. Substances, chemicals, and airborne hazard exposure in specified locations during specified times were covered by this legislation.
What’s Next for the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022?
An essential facet of the PACT Act legislation was the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. The bill would have allowed certain citizens to sue and recover damages for the harm caused by exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987. Despite the PACT Act being blocked by legislators, Camp Lejeune Veterans and families affected by contaminated water will still be able to file Camp Lejeune lawsuits.
Many Congresspeople still expect the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 to pass under the overarching PACT Act after further debate and negotiations. President Joe Biden has stated that he will sign the legislation into law once the Senate and House of Representatives compromise.
The Mesothelioma Vets team has proven expertise in legal and eligibility assistance that can get you the justice you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about your eligibility and what the next steps are for the Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022.