The New Jersey Star-Ledger reports:
“Since the dust settled and dispersed a decade ago, thousands of first responders have been diagnosed with pulmonary, respiratory, skin and blood disorders, as well as cancer. Hundreds have died, according to New York City officials and other groups, although not all of the deaths have been linked directly to Ground Zero.
Many of the sick and dying have endured years of financial instability due to job and benefits losses. A lifeline was thrown in January when the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act finally found its way to President Obama’s desk, surviving a sea of due process, politics and bureaucracy.
But for many others, relief isn’t coming.”
The question is, what medical costs are the 9/11 first responders entitled to? Should they get medical care for life? Should they only be covered for illnesses related to their 9/11 service? If so, what is the burden of proof the first responders need to establish to that 9/11 caused their illness?
Further, those involved in 9/11 aren’t the only ones who risk their lives to save others. Should all first responders recevive comprehensive medical coverage? If so, how comprehensive is comprehensive?
Most importantly, who should pay for this coverage?
On 9/11, Americans must not only commemorate the service of many heroic individuals, but must also determine how much health care these individuals deserve.