01 March 2013
Workin' the Hill - walking the hallowed halls of Congress
Earlier, experts scientists from NIH had briefed the staff, and personnel from other legislators, regarding the scientific basic for our claims for exposure to Agent Orange. While perhaps only one C-123 veteran is a constituent of Senator Merkley, his enthusiasm for protecting that one veteran's entitlement to VA care is the same as if thousands more Oregon vets were in the same boat. What is right, simply is right, and Senator Merkley makes that clear.
I also had the opportunity to update Merkley's folks on that morning's visit to the Army's Joint Services Records Research Center, which seems to have introduced some archival materials supportive of our exposure claims.
A full day. Followed by the appointment with VA's Director of the VA's Compensation Services, whose responsibility it is to deny C-123 veterans' claims. That department will review claims individually, and then deny them individually, using the same cookie-cutter phrases, in flat denial of outside scientific and medical expertise. The VA's "duty to assist" seems to have been completed (in their view) with the assignment to their staff, and to the staff of Veterans Health Administration, back in 2011, to prevent successful C-123 claims. Since the first teleconference which revealed their establishment of interpretations of scientific tests in a manner to prevent claims, nothing has changed, not a note has been made of any supporting opinions from a wide range of other federal agencies, universities and expert individual physicians and scientists.
We'll see. We'll hope. After all, it is their duty, right?