The article below details the latest VA assault on veterans of the 1991 Gulf War, where a letter from House Veterans' Affairs Committee senior members to VA leaders requesting new presumptives for claims by Gulf War veterans was flatly denied.
Sadly, this is yet one more example of it goes when VA is "asked nicely". The scientific research evidence for brain cancer in Khamisiyah is compelling, as is noted in this article, yet VA still twists an IOM report to their own advantage (VA wrote the contract for that IOM report, by the way) and now VA denies this new presumptive.
And sadly, the research evidence for the other conditions is not yet compelling on its fact, as the article also notes -- and this fact is another angering example of why VA's research leadership must be held accountable to perform the right research and to report properly on medical research related to Gulf War veterans. These serious issues of another area where VA is badly broken are not new, they've been the subject of repeated RAC reports and public meetings and Congressional hearings and testimony over many years.
It's now clear that legislation must be introduced and enacted for a Khamisiyah brain cancer presumptive, and it must be made retroactive to ensure benefits for the surviving spouses including where the veteran may not have had a claim on file that could be approved. To allay Congressional budget hawks' concerns, the bill's cost should be relatively small given the relatively small number of these brain cancer deaths. However, for the surviving spouses of those affected, the impact would be profound, and provide a small measure of justice for them.
Additionally, all of this is just one more fuel for why H.R. 4261, the Gulf War Health Research Reform Act of 2014, must be enacted to ensure the kinds of independent research review that is necessary. However, currently VA staff are winning over Gulf War veterans in the Senate, where the bill is languishing without action and will not be taken up in the current conference committee, contrary to previous assertions that Gulf War veterans' advocates took to be true on their face.
SOURCE: USA Today, July 7, 2014 - Kelly Kennedy Reporting