Tennessee Doctors Decry Blackburn, Hagerty Vote Against Veteran Healthcare

Advocate Andy

Senators voted against bill that would have provided life-saving care to veterans exposed to toxic chemicals

Tennessee doctors affiliated with the healthcare advocacy group Protect My Care criticized votes by Tennessee Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty on legislation designed to provide access to life saving care to veterans exposed to toxic chemicals in burn pits.

The two Senators voted against the PACT Act this week. They were joined by a group of Senate Republicans who effectively blocked the bill's passage.

Protect My Care provided statements from Tennessee doctors outraged over opposition to the bill.

Dr. Katrina Green, a Nashville ER physician, said:

"As a doctor and as an American I believe that everyone, no matter where they live or the color of their skin deserves access to affordable life-saving healthcare. And that absolutely includes our veterans who have sacrificed their lives in service to our country. I'm ashamed and angered at the hypocritical votes by Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty who voted against providing lifesaving healthcare to our veterans while claiming that they 'support the troops'. As a country we must take care of our veterans who have been exposed to toxic chemicals in burn pits while serving our country, and I want to hear from Senators Blackburn and Hagerty how they can claim to honor the troops with their words but deny them access to healthcare with their votes."

Dr. Amy Gordon Bono, a primary care physician, described the details of the bill that Blackburn and Hagerty rejected:

"The Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (or PACT act) would provide life saving health care to 1 in 5 living US veterans due to conditions they contracted due to exposure to toxic burn pits during their service abroad. Our veterans are suffering with conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, granulomatous disease, interstitial lung disease, pleuritis, pulmonary fibrosis, chronic sinusitis, chronic rhinitis and glioblastoma all due to the exposure they endured while serving our country. Providing life saving health treatment to our troops is the least we can do as Americans and my question to Senators Marsha Blackburn and Hagerty is this: 'Why are you willing to vote to invest in a border wall and to increase military spending and yet then refuse to invest in our most valuable asset of all- our American people and troops?'"

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN
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