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More 9/11 first responders, victims to receive care

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More 9/11 first responders, victims to receive care
By Pete Levine ·

More 9/11 first responders and victims will receive the medical treatment and monitoring they need, thanks to an expansion of the World Trade Center Health Program.

A provision to address a funding shortfall for the program and to expand who is eligible for it was included in the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that President Joe Biden signed into law on Dec. 22.

When Congress passed the NDAA, AFSCME President Lee Saunders said in a statement: “Finally, Congress has taken a step forward to add funding to the World Trade Center Health Program, which provides essential health services to 9/11 first responders. With this additional funding, we can expand the program to include the active-duty military personnel, federal employees and civilians who were on the scene of the Pentagon attack and the Flight 93 crash in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.”

The World Trade Center Health Program was started in 2011 to provide treatment and monitoring to 9/11 survivors and responders who were exposed to toxins and suffered other physical and psychological injuries stemming from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

However, as more people enrolled in it and health care costs rose, the program needed more funding. The latest expansion of the program authorizes that. It also authorizes additional funding for certain first responders at the Pentagon and Shanksville sites.

“Our nation will never forget those — including many AFSCME members — who jumped into action and put their lives on the line to save others on that tragic day,” Saunders said. “‘Never Forget’ means we must continue to honor their service and sacrifice, with actions and not just words. And now … they will have access to the health care they need.”

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