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Congress working on what could be largest health bill in US history

The House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees are trying to pass legislation that would...
The House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees are trying to pass legislation that would provide care and disability compensation for thousands of veterans sickened by burn pits and other toxins, but some lawmakers say the price tag may be too high.(Cpl. Samuel D. Corum | U.S. Department of Defense)
Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 7:34 PM CDT
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FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) - The House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees are trying to pass legislation that would provide care and disability compensation for thousands of veterans sickened by burn pits and other toxins, but some lawmakers say the price tag may be too high.

With several deployments under his belt, Army Veteran and Social Worker Jeffrey Yarvis from Texas A&M Central Texas understands where many soldiers are coming from when they talk about health-related issues due to their exposure to burn pits and toxins.

“Soldiers are always briefed on how to be careful, but none of us really understood or cared what it meant and we were focused on doing our jobs,” he said.

“Those things all together can have a cumulative effect eventually. If we can see the long-term impact is more beneficial enough, than I think there’s a good likelihood of it passing because why wouldn’t you support it?”

A recent study by the VA found an estimated 3.5 million veterans have been exposed to burn pits and other dangerous toxins since 1990.

Now, lawmakers are asking for a budget and more research from the VA in order to determine what the root cause of the issues are before any sort of disability package moves forward.

That may seem like a lot, but Yarvis says he thinks it could become a reality.

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable for people to provide that thought and care for them knowing that these things could have long term consequences,” he said.

“If they do, these men and women are entitled to that and deserve the best.”

If new legislation is passed, it could potentially be the largest veterans’ health bill in U.S. history.

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