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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/20/20

New Mexico's US Senator Martin Heinrich: Agent Orange [and the Crueler Story from Vietnam]

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Retired Army 1st Sgt. Jim Rogers served 27 years in the military, including in the Vietnam War, where he was exposed to Agent Orange. Rogers suffers from hyperthyroidism and hypertension, health conditions linked to Agent Orange exposure, but not currently recognized as service-connected illnesses by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Hundreds of thousands of veterans suffer from diseases linked to Agent Orange exposure, but many aren't receiving the care they need. In 2017, then-VA Secretary David Shulkin moved to add bladder cancer, Parkinson's-like symptoms, and hypothyroidism to the list of Agent Orange-related conditions eligible for benefits, but the Trump administration's Office of Management and Budget reportedly rejected this recommendation over cost.

My office has worked with several veterans like Rogers who continue to live with the effects of their exposure to Agent Orange. His story was featured on KOB.

The Trump administration's callous efforts to deny these veterans the care they need are outrageous. I've been leading the effort in New Mexico to secure critical benefits for Vietnam veterans suffering from health conditions associated with their exposure to Agent Orange. And I have called on the Trump administration to stop denying scientific evidence and expand the VA's list of medical conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange.

As your United States Senator, I am committed to keeping America's promise to all our veterans so that when our troops return home, they receive the health care and benefits they have earned. If you or a family member is having trouble filing a claim, receiving benefits, accessing health benefits or military records, replacing medals, or other veterans issues, you can contact my office by calling (505) 346-6601 or visit the Veterans Resources Center on my website for assistance.

Sincerely,

MARTIN HEINRICH

United States Senator

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