March 29, 2024

Thousands of Hoosier veterans enroll in VA health care after federal law expansion

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2022’s PACT Act expanded direct access to VA health care for veterans exposed to toxic substances during their military service. - File Photo: Justin Hicks / IPB News

2022’s PACT Act expanded direct access to VA health care for veterans exposed to toxic substances during their military service.

File Photo: Justin Hicks / IPB News

The number of Indiana military veterans newly enrolled in Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, health care increased by more than 37 percent in one year.

2022’s PACT Act expanded direct access to VA health care for veterans exposed to toxic substances during their military service.

Anyone who served in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Global War on Terror or any other combat zone after 9/11 can now apply for that care without first applying for VA benefits.

The PACT Act’s influence can already be seen in enrollment over the past year, as 7,141 more Hoosier veterans are now enrolled in VA health care. Indiana’s rate of increase is higher than the national average.
 

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While both of Indiana’s U.S. senators voted in favor of the bill, U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) cautioned that oversight would be essential to ensure the VA was not overwhelmed.

To that end, the department nationally hired more than 61,000 people last year and now has more employees than ever before.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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