PressMediaWire.com (Press Release Distribution) – Jun 19,2012 –
(June, 2012)The Zadroga Act (named in honor of an NYPD officer who passed from respiratory issues connected to his work in the rescue and recovery efforts after 9/11), which was passed by Congress in December 2010, was meant to provide medical assistance and compensation to first responders who were exposed to toxins while working at ground zero. The idea sounded great on paper: support those who worked tirelessly to help others in the wake of the one of the most devastating terrorist attacks in U.S. history –who could you say no to that?
But there’s a (hidden) catch. The original legislation covered lesser health issues such as chronic coughing, laryngitis and carpal tunnel –not cancer.
The reaction to this news was probably best captured by comedian John Stewart’s segment “I Thought We Already Took Care of This S@#t” from The Daily Show. The segment draws attention to the fact that, on the surface, the bill sounds like it covers all responder health issues connected to 9/11 –but in reality, it excludes one of the most expensive (and devastating) health issues connected to the attacks.
Friday, in a big leap forward for 9/11 cancer patients, federal health officials proposed a new rule that would add approximately 50 cancers to the list of health issues covered by the 9/11 health care fund.
But the most important question is: Will my cancer be covered? At this point, no details have been released, but a proposed list of certain cancers has been brought forward by NIOSH. If you can believe it, some claim that the reason why cancer coverage was not included in the bill initially was because there was no proven link between the two. Now, Dr. John Howard, Director of NIOSH, has had a major change of heart and is now recommending that cancer be covered by the fund (where he used to recommend the opposite). But, the fund is only covers compensation for five years (instead of the originally proposed 30). And certain cancers, such as mesothelioma, don’t show up until decades after the initial exposure.
Now that the list has been proposed, it is open to public comment for 30 days. It may take months for the proposal to be approved, but in the meantime, we’ll keep a close eye on this story.
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Susan Knape, 214-629-0596