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Rehberg’s Bill Would Expand Care for Agent Orange Victims

By Beacon Staff

WASHINGTON – Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg is pushing the federal government to expand health care to Vietnam war veterans affected by the chemical defoliant Agent Orange.

The Department of Veterans Affairs requires that Vietnam veterans prove that they were on land to qualify for Agent Orange-related illnesses. The coverage doesn’t extend to those who were exposed to the toxin while they were on waterways or serving on offshore vessels.

Rehberg — who has introduced a separate bill to provide health care for soldiers exposed to other chemical agents — says that policy is misguided.

Agent Orange, used in the Vietnam war to strip trees of their leaves, contains a highly toxic chemical compound that causes serious illnesses and deformities and lingers in soil.