WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWNY) - A new report says White House officials put the brakes on some important changes to the list of diseases eligible for Agent Orange benefits.
Thousands of service members were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
Agent Orange is linked to a variety of serious health conditions. Two years ago David Shulkin, the then-Secretary of Veterans Affairs, added three more health conditions to the list of diseases eligible for Agent Orange benefits.
The Military Times now reports documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show White House officials challenged Shulkin’s authority and stood in the way of the changes and, as a result, tens of thousands of veterans are still waiting for benefits.
The illnesses are bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinson's-like symptoms.
According to the Military Times article, administration officials argued that there was limited scientific evidence to support the additions and said they were concerned about the cost.
The documents obtained by the Military Times show 83,000 veterans are afflicted with one of the three conditions.
The estimated cost to compensate the veterans was redacted.