Washington [United States], June 8 (ANI): US President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a bill to provide better access to mammograms for veterans exposed to burn pits as part of nine bills signed into law aimed to improve veterans’ health care.
He also signed eight other pieces of legislation Tuesday focused on veteran health care, including a bill to improve breast imaging services for veterans regardless of if they’re exposed to burn pits or not and to compensate veterans who developed cancer and medical conditions from the World War II-era nuclear programs, The Hill reported.
“Less than one per cent of the population risk everything to defend our nation and our values and everything we hold dear. And you know, the 99 per cent of us who don’t, we owe them, we owe them big,” Biden said at the bill signing. “And that’s what today is all about, is paying a debt in my view,” he said adding.
Biden has been focused on expanding benefits for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and were exposed to toxic chemicals from burn pits and has always called it a “sacred obligation” to prepare those serving in the armed forces and to care for them and their families when they return home.
The issue of burn pits strikes a personal note for the president who believes related chemicals may have contributed to the brain cancer that ultimately killed his son, Beau Biden, The Hill reported.
The legislation aims to ensure that veterans who serve near burn pits get preventative care and requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct breast cancer screenings for women who experience toxic exposures.
The Dr Kate Hendricks Thomas SERVICE Act was named after Marine Corps Officer Kate Thomas, who served near a burn pit in Iraq and died in April from breast cancer.
According to The Hill, Biden honoured her in remarks at the White House and acknowledged her husband and son, who were at the bill signing.
Lawmakers who attended the bill signing included Republican Sens. John Boozman (Ark.), Susan Collins (Maine), and Joni Ernst (Iowa), and Democratic Sens. John Hickenlooper (Colo.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Ben Ray Lujan (N.M.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), and Jon Tester (Mont.), the report added.(ANI)