July 26, 2013

Veterans Win Mixed Ruling on Exposure to Chemicals

Bob Egelko | SF Gate | Thousands of military veterans who were exposed to chemicals during decades of secret weapons testing are entitled to up-to-date government information about possible health hazards but can't get government-funded health care outside the Department of Veterans Affairs system, a federal judge in Oakland has ruled.

 The decision Wednesday by Chief U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken was a limited victory for veterans' organizations, who had argued that the VA health care system is overburdened and inadequate for the needs of those veterans, and that the government should pay their private medical bills.

Wilken said the government is shielded from such lawsuits because it has established the VA system to treat veterans, along with a special Court of Appeals to hear complaints of substandard or withheld care.

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