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WTC Health ProgramZadroga Act

9/11 Community Fights for Health Care on Capitol Hill

March 7, 2023 | Michael Barasch

Managing Partner Michael Barasch joined other 9/11 community advocates, first responders, survivors, and elected officials at a press conference this week on Capitol Hill in support of the bipartisan 9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act of 2023.

The bill would provide long-term funding for the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and allow currently-excluded Pentagon and Shanksville responders to join the program.

Even after $1 billion was provided for the health care program in the end-of-year federal spending bill, the program still confronts an estimated $2.7 billion deficit by 2032.

The deficit has occurred as a result of substantial increases in enrollment and a higher than expected number of 9/11 first responders and survivors developing cancer. 

Barasch & McGarry has worked closely with a bipartisan group in Congress to protect the WTC Health Program, and will continue the fight to secure health care access for the 117,000 individuals currently enrolled, as well as future 9/11 victims and their families.

The program offers free health care for chronic health conditions resulting from exposure to Ground Zero toxins, including cancer, respiratory and aerodigestive illnesses, acute traumatic injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, and mental health conditions.

About 36% of WTC Health Program members who are certified for an illness have been diagnosed with cancer.

If you are diagnosed with a 9/11-related illness, your family medical history does not affect your eligibility for free health care or compensation. 

If you were there in Lower Manhattan, the government presumes your illness was the result of exposure to Ground Zero toxins.

For more than 20 years, Barasch & McGarry has advocated for the federal government to fully fund both the health program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).

If you were in Lower Manhattan below Canal Street on 9/11 or during the eight following months, you are eligible to register with the 9/11 VCF – even if you are currently healthy.

If you were below Houston Street or in parts of western Brooklyn and are diagnosed with a 9/11-related illness, you are eligible to enroll in the WTC Health Program. 

The health program offers enormous benefits, with members experiencing cancer mortality rates that are 34 percent lower than demographically similar New York State residents with cancer, according to the FDNY WTC Health Program Clinical Center – with even better results for prostate cancer and colon cancer.

Barasch & McGarry, Lawyers for the 9/11 Community represents more than 35,000 members of the 9/11 community.

If you were exposed to Ground Zero toxins, you should know your health status. Don’t let a delayed diagnosis become a death sentence.

Visit or call 212-385-8000 today.

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