Bipartisan Coalition Introduce Bill to Support 9/11 First Responders with Vital Health Programs

Bill Would Reauthorize Health Programs for 9/11 Responders and Survivors; 170 Illinoisans Currently Enrolled in World Trade Center Health Program

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WASHINGTON –-(ENEWSPF)–April 14, 2015.  U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today, along with U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), introduced the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, legislation that provides 9/11 first responders with access to health care and financial programs that are currently at risk of expiring. 14 years after the September 11th terrorist attacks, 9/11 responders and survivors are still battling health crises and setbacks resulting from exposure to the toxins at Ground Zero. 63,000 responders are receiving medical monitoring to safeguard against illness or injury, and more than 33,000 9/11 responders and survivors have at least one illness or injury caused by the attacks or the aftermath – 170 of whom live in Illinois and are currently enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program.

“170 Illinoisans risked their lives to serve our nation 14 years ago, and many have been suffering with an illness or injury ever since. These men and women are heroes and deserve the best support and care our country can provide,” Senator Kirk said.

Senator Kirk was an original cosponsor of the James Zadroga Act in 2010, which provides two critical programs, the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund – set to expire in October 2015 and October 2016, respectively. A companion bill has been introduced by the House of Representatives and currently has 39 bipartisan co-sponsors.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act would:

Continue the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program. The World Trade Center Health Program would continue medical monitoring for 9/11-related illnesses for over 63,000 9/11 first responders and treatment for over 7,800 injured 9/11 survivors. Over 33,000 of these responders and survivors have at least one or more medical conditions as a result of their 9/11 exposure.

Continue Monitoring and Treatment for Communities Throughout the Nation. The program would continue to provide medical monitoring and treatment for responders to the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania crash site who live outside the New York metropolitan area. Treatment is included for the over 7,900 injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors including responders who came to New York to provide assistance after 9/11 and those from New York who have moved out of the New York Metropolitan area.

Continue the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). The fund, which is scheduled to close on October 3rd 2016, would remain open and fully funded to provide compensation for economic damages and loss for responders and survivors who were injured by exposure to the toxins at Ground Zero. To date, the VCF has determined 10,549 claimants eligible and has made compensation decisions for 4,415 injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors for over a billion dollars in compensation. More are expected in the coming years due to the delayed onset of cancer from 9/11 exposure.

Continue to Research New Conditions. The legislation would continue research in diagnosing and treating WTC-related illnesses.

Source: kirk.senate.gov