HUBERT, N.C. — A bill to provide healthcare coverage to military families exposed to contaminated water aboard Camp Lejeune has passed the Senate but some former civilian employees said that they were unduly omitted from the legislation.
The coverage would apply to those stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1957 and 1987. There are over 180,000 people listed on a registry as having been exposed to the water during that time and many of them were civilian workers aboard the base. Under the Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, civilian employees who were exposed to the water are not eligible for any benefits.
Ronnie Carter, a base employee for 35 years, is now fighting cancer and believes civilian workers should be included in the legislation.
Carter said that workers who were employed aboard the base for years likely saw the same amount of exposure as service members.
"If the military being exposed for two to four years had the amount of medical problems that they did then certainly the civilian population that worked aboard the base would have the same kind of medical problems," said Carter.
The bill to provide health care coverage must go before the House of Representatives and President before it becomes law.