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New York Senators Fight for Spending Bill to Protect 9/11 Health Care Program

December 20, 2022 | Michael Barasch

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (New York) urged his colleagues in Congress to pass a spending bill that would prevent a government shutdown and provide $3.7 billion needed for the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (New York) has also worked tirelessly to protect health care access for the 9/11 community. 

There are currently more than 120,000 9/11 first responders and survivors enrolled in the WTC Health Program.

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.

Without additional funding, the WTC Health Program would need to reduce services and stop accepting new members in about two years.

The health program confronts an estimated $3 billion deficit by 2032.

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

About 36% of WTC Health Program members 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.

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 http://www.911victims.com/ or call 212-385-8000 today.

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