Yesterday, while still on vacation in Hawaii, President Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act into law, laying the groundwork for a $4.3 billion fund to cover the healthcare costs of first responders suffering from medical complications arising from their service at Ground Zero.
The act will come too late to help former NYPD officer James Zadroga, who died in January 2006, but 100s of his fellow officers, firefighters, steelworkers and volunteers will benefit enormously. In the words of Mike Paladino, President of the New York City Detectives Endowment Association:
“The USA has done the right thing.”
It is shocking to note that New Yorkers had to wait nine years for this burden for so many heroes of 9/11 to be lifted. It is even more shocking to note that if had not been for public outrage at the political shenanigans that accompanied the dying days of the last Congress this act would still be languishing at the bottom of politicians’ ‘to do’ list.
So, we would like to take this opportunity to give a shout out to all of you who raised your voices on this issue and to those who took our online action. You can be very proud of a good day’s work.
It is not yet clear how exactly the act will be implemented but you can rest assured that going forward Amnesty International USA will be keeping a watchful eye on Washington to make sure that all those first responders and residents of lower Manhattan who need medical help in the months and years ahead receive it.