Monday, December 27, 2010

9/11 Health Bill passed, will it make a difference?

Passage of the 9/11 health care bill recently was thanks to the efforts of elected officials, labor leaders and emergency workers, who kept their promise to remember those who became ill or died after working at Ground Zero, speakers at a rally yesterday said.

"This is not a miracle. This is called being patriotic," said John Feal of the FealGood Foundation, an advocacy group for responders sickened...

The new deal reduces the cost of the bill by $6.2 billion from its previous Senate version and $7.5 billion from the version that passed the House, according to a statement from Coburn's office. It calls for closing the Victims Compensation Fund in 2016 instead of 2031, preventing claimants from pursuing civil lawsuits if rejected from the fund, and limiting infrastructure costs and attorney fees.

"Every American recognizes the heroism of the 9/11 first responders, but it is not compassionate to help one group while robbing future generations of opportunity," Coburn said in a statement after the deal was reached. "I'm pleased this agreement strikes a fair balance and improves the bill the majority attempted to rush through at the last minute."

Obama's full statement on the bill signing:

I was honored to sign the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to ensure that rescue and recovery workers, residents, students, and others suffering from health consequences related to the World Trade Center disaster have access to the medical monitoring and treatment they need.

We will never forget the selfless courage demonstrated by the firefighters, police officers, and first responders who risked their lives to save others.

I believe this is a critical step for those who continue to bear the physical scars of those attacks.