Its not like having our soft tissue sarcomas, heart disease, diabetes, prostate cancer, ALS and other illnesses treated now or months from now will make any difference in the end.
We might live a little longer. We might be in less pain, but really, what difference would it make? To VA...nothing at all.
A few months here, a few months there...what's the problem with VA refusing care even if the Institute of Medicine said we were exposed to Agent Orange and harmed thereby?
Its not like we have any special right to have our illnesses cared for. Indeed, our lesson from VA is that for their reasons not shared with us, we shall do without.
We're tough. We were taught for years by the military to tough it out, work through the pain. Now, we'll just have to learn to do without medical care...a lesson taught us since our first C-123 Agent Orange claims was denied by Compensation and Pension.
After all, the Director of VA Compensation and Pension has explained in ordering all C-123 claims denied* (on what they termed a "case by case" basis) that there is no evidence of TCDD causing any adverse health effects
and therefore, Agent Orange claims are without merit.
And Post Deployment Health leaders helped us understand that, just like Vietnam veterans, we were never exposed anyway.
This was later termed "an unfortunate choice of words," meaning the claim was ordered denied but other excuses should have been created for refusing the medical care sought by the veteran.
The "unfortunate choice of words" was left to be appealed, a process underway since 2011 and which may or may not be resolved at some point prior to the veteran's death. It was important to Post Deployment that "a line had to be drawn somewhere."
There is firm VA protection for a veteran' right to appeal, but precious little assurance of a fair and accurate decision in the first place.
*2012 Agent Orange exposure claim denial by Compensation and Pension. Mischaracterized actual scientific opinion by Dr. Thomas Sinks of CDC/ATSDR that veterans were exposed. Please compare Dr. Sinks' letter to VA with the summary prepared of it by VA. Dr. Sinks later made clear to VA that C-123 veterans should have been wearing full HAZMAT in the contaminated airplanes. VA Office of General Counsel explained that such errors can be appealed, even if the correction process takes years. Years during which VA refuses care and benefits.