Health and Compensation

January 30th, 2011 § 0 comments


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Subway ad, photographed September 14, 2010

Art Daily announced comedian Jon Stewart will join the board of the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

Stewart went on air this past December, publicly shamed the Senate for stalling the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, and criticized CBS, NBC and ABC for failing to report the issue. According to Stewart, “There was one network that gave the 9/11 first responders story the full 22 minutes of intense coverage that it deserved. But that network, unfortunately, was Al Jazeera. Our networks were scooped with a sympathetic Zadroga Bill story by the same network that Osama Bin Laden sends his mix tapes to.”

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Worst Responders
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> The Daily Show on Facebook

OpenCongress summarizes H.R. 847: James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 as follows, “This bill is designed to improve health services and provide financial compensation for 9/11 first responders who were exposed to dangerous toxins and are now sick as a result. It would establish a federal program to provide medical monitoring and treatment for first responders, provide initial health screenings for people who were in the area at the time of the attack and may be at risk, and reopen the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund to provide compensation for losses and harm as an alternative to the current litigation system.”

Those last few words are particularly important, because they point to litigation rather than ethics as motivation for the act.

To give context to 9/11 related health issues, 403 rescue workers were killed on September 11, 2001. According to a November 2009 article by The Guardian, “No official tally is available for the number of those who have died as a result of the 9/11 clear-up. The New York state health department has recorded 817 deaths of emergency workers but it cannot confirm categorically how many of those were directly linked to the [WTC] site.”

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
9/11 First Responders React to the Senate Filibuster
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> The Daily Show on Facebook

The act passed in the House, received a majority vote in the Senate but not the 2/3 vote required until December 20, 2010, the last day of the lame duck session of Congress. It was signed by President Obama on January 2, 2011, but it was not without compromise. Funding for the act was reduced from $7.4 billion to $4.2 billion, providing health care and monitoring for only five years instead of ten.

Basically, the government has agreed to provide five years of short-term care for rescue workers as “an alternative to litigation.”

The memory of 9/11 has been strategically employed to fund two wars that Joseph A Stiglitz (Columbia University) and Linda J. Blimes (Harvard University) estimate at running a tab over $3 trillion, (see their book The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict) yet we have failed to remember the 9/11 rescue workers who risked their lives in the service of others.

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