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Leaders Push to Extend the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act

Sep 10, 2014

One day before the country reflected on the 13th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, a host of U.S. leaders met at Ground Zero to push to reauthorize the vital health programs originally passed in December 2010.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Rep. Peter King, Mayor Bill de Blasio, 9/11 first responders, community survivors and union leaders all gathered to reinforce the importance of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, Health Watch reported.

The Zadroga bill features two programs that provide medical treatment and compensation for 9/11 responders. The World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund are set to expire in October 2015 and October 2016 respectively.

Senators Gillibrand and Schumer plan to introduce the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act later this month in the Senate, while Maloney, Nadler and King will do so in the House. The Act would continue these programs for 25 more years, through 2041, Health Watch reported.

“Our 9/11 heroes, survivors, and my colleagues fought hard to ensure that Congress fulfilled its undeniable moral obligation by providing long-overdue health care and compensation for 9/11 responders and community survivors,” Senator Gillibrand said in a press release. “So just as our first responders and survivors worked hard to pass the 9/11 health bill in 2010, tirelessly walking the halls of Congress week after week, month after month, and year after year, we will do everything in our power to get this new legislation passed and signed into. But it shouldn’t have to take another ‘Christmas Miracle’ for Congress to do the right thing. It should simply take listening to these heroes and reflecting on 9/11 and about who we are as a nation.”

In the 13 years since the terrorist attacks, responders and survivors have been left battling a variety of serious and deadly health issues stemming from exposure to the toxins at Ground Zero. Health Watch reports that more than 30,000 September 11th responders and survivors have endured an illness or injury because of their involvement in the aftermath of the attacks. More than two-thirds of those people reported having more than one illness. The list of diseases and ailments responders and victims have suffered included, but are not limited to: asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease and various types of cancer.

In fact, medical researchers have identified more than 60 types of cancer caused by 9/11 toxins, Health Watch reported. More than 2,900 people have been diagnosed with cancers caused or made worse by the aftermath of the attacks. More than 800 New York Fire Department members and more than 550 New York Police Department personnel have been left dealing with serious 9/11-related illnesses.

“With the 13th Anniversary of 9/11 upon us (Thursday) it is clear that while the dust has settled from the tragic attacks, the physical ramifications are still with us,” Senator Schumer said in a press release. “The brave first responders that saved so many victims are now suffering from illnesses from the airborne toxins at the World Trade Center site, and they should not bear the burden of health costs on their own. This legislation, which will extend critically needed medical treatment and compensation programs for another 25 years, must be a top priority. It is our duty to care for the heroes that sacrificed so much in a time of great despair and pain.”

The new James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act would: continue the World Trade Center Health Program; continue to Provide Monitoring and Treatment for WTC Responders and NY Community Members; continue the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF); continue to Establish Cost Share for the City of New York; continue to Research New Conditions; and extend Support for NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

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