New York Congressional Delegation Re-Introduces Legislation for Permanent WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program
July 31, 2008
Several members of New York's Congressional delegation re-introduced an updated version of the James Zadroga
9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The original bill was submitted to the House
of Representatives in September 2007. Following a Congressional Budget Office
review, which found the legislation too costly, the bill was refined while
maintaining its key provisions. On July 31, Mayor Bloomberg testified in support of the updated legislation before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee. "Passing this bill would, at long last, fully engage the Federal government in resolving the health challenges created by the attack on our entire nation that occurred on 9/11," Bloomberg said in his testimony.
The new legislation (H.R. 6594 ) would establish a permanent medical monitoring and treatment program for WTC first responders, rescue and recovery workers, lower Manhattan residents, area workers and students. The WTC treatment programs are currently funded through grants that will end next year. Under the new bill, the WTC Centers of Excellence will have a steady funding stream to provide monitoring and treatment for WTC-related health conditions. The bill would also reopen the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund , which provided financial assistance to victims of the 9/11 attacks.
The major changes from the previous version of the legislation (H.R. 3543 ) and the new bill include:
- Limiting the eligible geographic area to: rescue and
recovery workers and those who lived, worked or went to school in lower
Manhattan (south of Houston Street) or Brooklyn within a 1.5-mile radius of
the WTC site.
- Setting up a contingency fund to help pay for
WTC-related health treatment for those who do not meet the eligibility
- Capping program participation to 35,000 additional
responders and 35,000 additional community members.
- Requiring those seeking treatment from the WTC
Centers of Excellence to first use their health insurance for non work-related
- Eliminating claims for mental health only conditions
under the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
- Providing federal government indemnification for the City of New York and its construction contractors for any liability related to the WTC rescue and recovery efforts. This will only take place when the WTC Captive Insurance Company is dissolved and remaining funds are returned to Congress.