9/11 Healthcare Worker Fund Will Now Start Covering Cancer Link


Thankfully, this bit of news is a little more resounding for the World Trade Center anniversary on Tuesday than our report of the political dispute between Bloomberg and Cuomo over the Museum funds from earlier today.

According to the New York Post, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health – an organization that had the hefty responsibility of deciding whether cancer would be covered by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act – will announce in the coming days that 50 types of cancer will be covered by the $4.3 billion fund.
Before this, the cancer coverage was pending due to a lack of scientific evidence that supported the claim that the dust from the debris was the main culprit. Unfortunately, that delay had its own victims: since 9/11, it has been estimated that over 400 respondents have died of cancer. As of now, 40,000 responders receive medical screening for the disease under a different section of the law while another 20,000 are under treatment. However, this announcement targets the Victim Compensation Fund – a component that makes up $2.77 billion of the total.
It goes without saying that this announcement could not come any sooner.
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was signed into law two years ago by President Obama; it was named after an NYPD detective who lost his life on that fateful day and sponsored by Manhattan’s very own Representative, Carolyn Maloney. Just like the 9/11 Memorial, the Freedom Tower and, now, the 9/11 Museum, the achievement underwent a political process that took way too long, leaving thousands of workers sick with nowhere to go.
With the recent news, officials expect that hundreds, if not thousands, of more victims will seek coverage under the fund. Following supply and demand rules, that translates into less individual payments, meaning the Fund’s special master, Sheila Birnbaum, might need to return to Washington and ask for more money, which could amount to a problem with this cash-hungry Congress. Ms. Birnbaum is only allowed to disperse $875 million in the first five years; after that, individual claims will make up the remaining $1.9 billion.
Regardless, the expected announcement will parallel the 11th anniversary of that day. Some might say the coverage came too late while others might argue it does not go nearly far enough. However, at one point, we need to place our accusations aside and stand back for a second.
Because, in the end, this is definitely good news to hear.