More than a year and a half after Congress passed a law providing health care for victims of the polluted water at Camp Lejeune, not a single member of any Marine family who was affected has received assistance.
For reasons only a bureaucrat at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs could explain, rules for administering the insurance coverage to affected members of Marine families have not yet been adopted by the VA. The agency did propose rules last September for Marines who served at Camp Lejeune, but the regulations have not yet been made final. (Veterans are already covered by VA insurance plans, but the new law exempts them from co-pays for treatment of certain illnesses that may be related to time spent at Camp Lejeune.)
And no regulations have been proposed yet that would enable the VA to implement a section of the law requiring health coverage for members of Marine families who were affected.
Until rules are in place, those who are eligible for assistance will have to wait. Many of them are suffering from debilitating diseases. Under the bill signed into law by President Obama in August 2012, the VA must provide health care to Marines and family members who lived at Camp Lejeune for at least a month between 1957 and 1987 and who have been diagnosed with any of 15 health problems.
Those are esophageal cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, multiple myeloma, myleodysplasic syndromes, renal toxicity, hepatic steatosis, female infertility, miscarriage, scleroderma, neurobehavioral effects and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Watch this space for any new developments at the VA.