9/11 Health bill loses long term support

9/11 Health bill loses long term support
Tuesday, February 9, 2010 2:42 PM EST

The healthcare of first responders, volunteers, and recovery and clean-up workers after the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, suffered a setback when the Obama administration stated it would not guarantee any long-term funding for their medical monitoring and treatment programs.

In a January 27 meeting between the New York Congressional delegation and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Sebelius informed the delegation that the administration could not support the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009 – introduced by Representative Carolyn Maloney – due to the bill’s provisions that would require mandatory annual spending on federal 9/11 health programs.

Instead, the administration offered – on February 1, 2010 – to double the 2011 budget to $150 million from the current $70 million allotted for this year. Currently, the medical monitoring and treatment programs are funded through discretionary spending, which needs to be renewed and approved annually by Congress.

“Good news for one year isn’t enough to allay the fears of families of these 9/11 heroes that they could be bankrupted by health costs five or 15 years down the road,” said Maloney in a statement to the press. “The doubling of funding only proves the point for those of us who have been saying for years that the health needs of responders should not be subject to the whims of who is in power in Washington.”

Statistics from the National Institutes for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) show that as of March 31, 2009, more than 51,000 World Trade Center (WTC) responders nationwide have met eligibility and have enrolled in the medical monitoring and treatment programs, according to Fred Blosser, a NIOSH spokesperson. NIOSH created the criteria of 9/11 health related ailments, which include asthma, chronic cough syndrome, sleep apnea, chronic rhinosinusitus, gastroesophageal reflux disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and depression, among others.

The Zadroga bill would have provided a mechanism for the continuous funding of the WTC monitoring and treatment programs with a payment rate based on federal compensation systems like Black Lung disease, energy workers and members of Congress. However, the workers’ compensation, public and private insurance plans would be the primary payers.

“The responders’ health must be monitored closely, so that early detection gives them a real chance against the serious long-term illnesses caused by working at Ground Zero,” said Maloney. “For my part, I will be asking for a meeting with the President to explain those needs more clearly – because I expect he will agree with us and overrule his staff.”

Having a political

person (ex- Kansas Gov. Sebelius) run our Health & Human Services, is more red-tapish than serious GOV.

Kristen Gillibrand from New York...

President Obama takes a question from Senator Kristen Gillibrand regarding the health care of 9/11 workers and first responders...


Full Conference with question queued up in HD: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOKvxqJpGrY#t=41m41s

He opened the door there more than

I expected (from the negative emotion of the 9.11 community).

NYC FED courts is deciding (Judge Hellerstein (AGAIN) on a law suit. This could result in a large compensation for 9,000 or so first responders.

This issue is very complex , & very criminal.

Hallerstein Stonewalls

The judge doesn't want a public trial where incriminating evidence would be exposed, so he's stalling and hoping for settlements.


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'O' Really?

'We've been budgeting this as a top priority of this administration,' says Obama.

I wonder, would all the ailing first responders still in need of help agree with that assesment.