Washington, DCThe 9/11 responders health bill designed to cover the medical costs of rescue workers and others who became ill after breathing in toxic fumes, dust and smoke during and after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, has been passed by the US Senate.
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In a complete turn of events, the bill passed Wednesday by unanimous consent. It had been in jeopardy, with both Repubicans and Democrats criticizing the bill over costs originally slated at 7.4 billion in funding for health initiatives over an eight year period. The new agreement allows for $4.3 billion to be paid to workers for five years of health coverage.
Some 60,000 people have enrolled in health-monitoring and treatment programs related to the September 11 terrorist attacks, and the federal government provides most of the funding for the programs. Under the new bill, $1.8 billion will go towards monitoring and treating injuries resulting from exposure to toxic dust and debris at ground zero; New York City would pay 10 percent of these costs. A further $2.5 billion will be used to reopen the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund for five years to provide payment for job and economic losses. (NYTimes