Salazar Wants Healthcare for Panama Canal Veterans

Salazar Wants Healthcare for Panama Canal Veterans

“They risked their lives every day for our country, it’s only right to be there for them in their time of need.”

Daniel Molina
Daniel Molina
|
March 31, 2023

Florida Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R) has introduced a bill that would provide Panama Canal Zone veterans health care coverage. The bipartisan bill, titled the Panama Canal Zone Veterans Act, would assist veterans that served in the Panama Canal Zone from 1958 to 1999.

The legislation would provide these veterans with healthcare benefits and disability compensation associated with their military service.

Speaking of the bill, Rep. Salazar called Florida “home to numerous veterans who served our country by patrolling the Panama Canal while our military was stationed there.”

Calling for lawmakers “to provide our veterans with the healthcare they deserve, and which they need,” Salazar noted that “they risked their lives every day for our country, it’s only right to be there for them in their time of need.”

According to a press release from Salazar’s office, the bill would establish “a presumptive exposure to Agent Orange for those that served in active duty in this area.” “Under a presumption of service-connection, certain conditions diagnosed in veterans are presumed to have been caused by the circumstances of their military service,” it states, pointing out that they can then “receive federal benefits and disability compensation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) is a sponsor of the bill, highlighting San Antonio as “Military City, USA because we know how important veterans and their families are to our community and the nation.”

“For too long, America’s veterans have returned home only to fight an uphill battle for the heathcare and benefits they earned” Castro expressed, affirming that the bill is going to provide “much needed relief and support to those suffering from illnesses that stem from active-duty service in the Panama Canal Zone.”

Other sponsors include Florida Rep. Darren Soto (D), Nevada Rep. Dina Titus (D), Illinois Rep. Mary Miller (R), Indiana Rep. Andre Carson (D), and Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R).

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Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina is an award-winning senior reporter based in Miami. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida International University. His hobbies include reading, writing, and watching films.

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