COLUMBUS- Today in Ohio House Health Committee, Rep. Adam Miller (D-Columbus) testified on Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 5, urging Congress to enact the Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act. The legislation would create a presumption of service-connection for veterans who participated in the nuclear cleanup of Enewetak Atoll for purposes of receiving healthcare and other benefits.
“If you have a type of cancer associated with service as an atomic veteran and you were near the Enewetak Atoll between 1977 and 1981, you should qualify for Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, plain and simple,” said Rep. Miller. “Enacting the Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act would let veterans who have engaged in dangerous situations for our country know we have their backs.”
The nuclear cleanup at Enewetak Atoll was so unique, so dangerous, and so secret that it is often difficult to make the traditional VA claim. This legislation would remedy that by creating a presumption of service-connection. A presumption of service-connection means if you were in a certain place during a certain window of time, you are automatically qualified for the relative VA benefits. Congress has done this for other veterans’ conditions, most famously for Agent Orange exposure.