We had hoped to hear something this week but didn’t.
It’s been about eight months since Veterans Affairs
Secretary Dr. David Shulkin said in a digital town hall,
“We’re getting very close to being able to give
you a final answer” on if the VA would expand the list
of diseases that are presumed to be linked to Agent Orange.
That hasn’t happened. The VA did issue a statement
late Wednesday saying it would “further explore”
the issue and pushing its decisions to some undisclosed
point in the future.
Here’s our latest story on the delay: http://propub.li/2A7vtqs
The VA said it would now work with the Trump administration
to conduct a legal and regulatory review of conditions for
awarding disability compensation to eligible veterans.
But wasn’t that the review that has been ongoing since
March 2016, when the National Academy of Medicine said there
is evidence to suggest that AO exposure may be linked to bladder cancer and
We spoke to veterans and their families after we got the
news from the VA that they were delaying their announcement.
Here’s what Dick Pirozzolo, 73, said:
“It’s frustrating. The politicians all talk a
good game about the VA, but then when it comes down to
making a decision, they drag their heels.”
Pirozzolo served as an information officer in the Air Force
in Vietnam and has had bladder cancer and a thyroid
condition called Graves’ disease.
Now what? Well, the VA did not provide a new date by which
it expects to act. We even asked why it didn’t meet
its self-imposed deadline for action of Nov. 1. They
responded Thursday and said: “Your premise is
incorrect … Yesterday’s press release announced
his decision — he is considering possible new
presumptive conditions that may qualify for disability
compensation related to Agent Orange exposure.”
If and when we get any more information, we’ll let you
know. Thank you and hang in there.
Terry and Charlie