04 December 2013

VA vs. C-123 Veterans Redux

We said it before. It bears a second look.

The VA is firmly determined to prevent, by any means fair or foul, all C-123 veterans from being treated for our Agent Orange illnesses. Cancers, heart disease, diabetes, ALS...none of them will be recognized by  the VA as service-connected.

That is VA's Job One regarding this group of dioxin-exposed vets. We don't know why they formed this perspective but it must be policy-driven and based on some issue regarding the aircraft itself, or the issue of the lingering contamination after Vietnam. VA administrators aren't monsters, and they don't actually wish us dead.

VA authorities (not the care providers, but the administrators in C&P) are, however, absolutely content letting us suffer or die without access to life-saving VA care. Friends, VA benefits aren't merely financial...disabilities recognized by the VA allow pharmacy, rehab, counseling, prosthetics, vision, independent living resources, audiology. dental, preventative medicine and other essential services without which a veteran can quickly become overwhelmed by the basic illness. For instance, dental disease can have an immediate impact on heart disease and can make an otherwise manageable chronic issue life-threatening.

Their attack on us has six components that we've seen thus far:
1. Prevent release of VA documents about their campaign against C-123 claims
2. Insist, for purpose of claims and despite all science, that Agent Orange exposure is harmless in the case of C-123 veterans
3. Re-define the word "exposure" to prevent C-123 veterans from coverage under Agent Orange laws
4. Reject expert input from other federal agencies not in accord with VA policies against C-123 vets
5. Reject all expert input from universities, medical schools and toxicologists unless in accord with VA policies against C-123 vets
6. Delay claim decisions as long as possible, then deny the claims, then delay again for years via the stalled Decision Review Officer or Board of Veterans Appeals channels; this enables VA to save money via prevention of medical care and be "stuck" only with a financial catch-up check once the claim is approved

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