Daniel Harmon, a veteran of the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, looks out the window of his room at the Hollywood Veterans Center in Los Angeles. The facility provides housing to homeless vets. David Gilkey/NPR hide caption

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Alan Oates was exposed to herbicides, such as Agent Orange, while serving in Vietnam in 1968. Decades after returning home, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, and because Congress passed the Agent Orange Act, he's able to receive VA benefits. Courtesy of Alan Oates hide caption

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A U.S. Air Force C-123 sprays herbicides on dense jungle beside a South Vietnamese highway on May 18, 1966. This aircraft is the last in a formation of three. Spray from the other two planes can be seen ahead. U.S. Air Force via AP hide caption

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The ferry pulls in to Friday Harbor, the only incorporated city in San Juan County, Wash. Veterans will often travel the hourlong ferry ride to reach VA services here. Patricia Murphy/KUOW hide caption

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Grant County Veterans Service Officer Bob Kelley (right) works with World War II Army veteran Frederick Kern at the Grant County Government Building in Marion, Ind., on Monday. Aaron P. Bernstein for NPR hide caption

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George Murray, who served in Vietnam, was able to access his medical benefits from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs relatively easily while living in Boston. But veterans living in other parts of Massachusetts, like Cape Cod, have more difficulty. Across the U.S., VA data show the unevenness in its benefit spending. Jesse Costa/WBUR hide caption

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Sen. John McCain discussed the Veterans Choice Act at a news conference on Tuesday, with fellow Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake. Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

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Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill Thursday about holding the Department of Veterans Affairs accountable. Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

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