Monday, the House of Representatives sent a widely supported bill to the president that would grant health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs to all troops and family members affected by chemical water contamination aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune during a period stretching from the 1950s to the 1980s–a pool that could include up to 750,000 people. After decades of waiting, Marine veterans who served the country with honor are a signature away from the care they were promised when they enlisted. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation.
Bundled into a comprehensive package of veterans’ legislation, the Janey Ensminger Act would cover 15 specific medical conditions for military veterans poisoned by chemical solvents such as TCE, PCE, and benzene, which seeped into base drinking water because of improper disposal practices and an underground leak at a fuel farm. Healthcare for affected family members would also be covered, with the VA designated as a “payer of last resort.”