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9/11 Medical Compensation Act Set to Expire

9/11 Medical Compensation Act Set to Expire
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NYC lawmakers push for a re-authorization of the Zadroga Act

The New York City Council introduced a resolution that would urge Congress to reauthorize the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act on Wednesday. A critical component of the act is set to expire this year, with another part expiring in 2016. 

The Zadroga's World Trade Center Health Program is supposed to expire in October. It provides treatment to responders and survivors living in the disaster area who got sick after 9/11. Council Member Margaret Chin, who's district includes Ground Zero, said that if Congress doesn't extend its life before the expiration date, thousands could suffer.

"It would be unconscionable if it's not reauthorized. People are suffering from all sorts of illness... and they need the health benefits," Chin said during a phone interview Wednesday.

Many 9/11 advocates share Chin's concerns. John Feal with the FealGood Foundation said he worries that Congress will take too long to act.

"Reality says that Congress is dysfunctional and they're not going to agree to just do this right away and it's going to take time and people are going to get sick," Feal said.

It took the original Zadroga Act eight years to make it through Congress and was finally signed into law in 2011. Feal said Congress should renew the act for at least 25 more years. 

The act's other critical component is the September 11th Victim Compensation which provides monetary compensation to victims who file claims. This part of the act will expire in October 2016.

In September of last year, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressmember Carolyn Maloney introduced legislation that would reauthorize the full Zadroga Act. The resolution introduced at the City Council today is calling on Congress to pass that legislation, and asks that the president sign it into law.

The introduction comes two days after the ninth anniversary of the death of NYPD Detective James Zadroga, after whom the law is named. He was part of search and recovery efforts at Ground Zero. Zadroga's was the first official death caused by a 9/11 related illness.