Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, along with her colleagues from New York and New Jersey, introduced the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in the Senate yesterday in an effort to get those affected by the September 11 terrorist attacks the continued medical care they require , The New York Times reports.
The bill, which is estimated to cost $12 billion, would give a wide swath of responders, area residents and students hassle-free access to medical care for injuries or illnesses related to their exposure to the World Trade Center site. This care would include the total cost for any required medical treatment, physical or mental, as well as prescription drugs.
By now, most New York personal injury lawyers know the toxic dust released after the collapse of the World Trade Center has caused lingering health problems for many who lived, worked or went to school in the area. As it stands, according to a summary provided by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, only emergency responders who were present at the site within the first 96 hours after the collapse are entitled to special compensation. The bill aims to correct this.
As for the title of the bill, Detective James Zadroga is acknowledged by many to be the first emergency responder to die of a respiratory illness related to exposure to the toxins at the World Trade Center site. Though there was some controversy surrounding Mr. Zadgroga’s immediate cause of death, Senator Gillibrand believes “the fundamental cause of death was his grave respiratory illness” and has no reservations regarding the title of the bill.
Unfortunately, the bill’s smooth passage through the Senate is far from assured. The White House has yet to endorse the $12 billion proposal, and may save its political capital for the ensuing battle over universal health care.
Even so, New York personal injury lawyers are holding out hope that the bill enjoys a swift and easy passage into law. Just as the country has an obligation to protect and care for the citizens who volunteer to fight its wars, it has an obligation to protect and care for those citizens injured in an act of war at home.