Green Buckeye RN


Politico: The Bill for Agent Orange Comes Due
September 1, 2010, 12:50 pm
Filed under: News

Age and Agent Orange are closing in on Vietnam veterans, a legacy of hurt for those who served — and a very big bill for American taxpayers.

It’s a world turned upside down from decades ago when returning soldiers had to fight to get attention for deadly lymphomas linked to the herbicide. Now the frailties of men in their 60s — prostate cancer, diabetes, heart disease — lead the list of qualified Agent Orange disabilities, and the result has been an explosion in claims and the government’s liability.

The latest expansion, approved by Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki in October, adds ischemic heart disease and Parkinson’s and will cost at least $42 billion over the next 10 years. The VA estimates 349,000 individuals are already receiving Agent Orange disability benefits, and that number could soon reach 500,000 — or one out of every four surviving Vietnam veterans by the VA’s count.

As the costs rise, so do the questions about the science involved and the box Washington put itself in by failing to address Agent Orange’s impact more directly at the outset.

Read further at http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0810/41571.html

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