In the wake of 21st Anniversary of September 11th attacks, the federal healthcare program charged with funding health expenses for survivors faces a severe financial shortfall
On the heels of the 21st anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the United States, an ongoing crisis continues to imperil the wellbeing of thousands of attack survivors – financial shortfalls impacting the all-important World Trade Center Health Program. The program, which covers many cancer-related medical expenses for more than 80,000 first responders and over 34,000 survivors of the 9/11 attacks is slated to begin running a deficit by 2024; throwing into question the ability for those who suffer ailments stemming from the attacks to access lifesaving healthcare. With the seriousness of the situation in mind, congressional candidate and Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito is calling on Congress to take immediate action and fully fund the World Trade Center Health Program.
“As the United States continues to feel the full impact of the heinous attacks committed on September 11th, we must make it a national priority to safeguard the wellbeing of those still suffering from health issues tied to the evil deeds committed 21 years ago,” said D’Esposito. “It is vital that Congress fully fund the World Trade Center Health Program so the thousands of first responders and survivors reliant on the program’s funds for healthcare needs are not left to fend for themselves.”
The World Trade Center Health Program was formed in 2011 as part of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act – a key plank in the larger effort to meet the long-term healthcare needs of those who were present at the site of the September 11th attacks. At the time of the World Trade Center Health Program’s implementation, lawmakers did not consider the current debilitating inflation crisis and the marked rise in healthcare costs when allocating funds for the initiative. What’s more, the program has seen a steep increase in enrollment, climbing from roughly 76,000 enrollees in 2015 to nearly 118,000 today. Indeed, these factors have contributed to a predicted shortfall which will damage the financial solvency of the program unless Congress acts immediately to appropriate further funding.
As a retired NYPD Detective and ex-Chief of the Island Park Fire Department, Anthony D’Esposito has long pressed leaders at all levels of government to do more to support members of the first responder community, particularly those who answered the nation’s call on September 11th. In that same vein, D’Esposito echoed the requests made by a group of GOP members of Congress for the House of Representatives to advance the 9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act – legislation that would prevent the looming budget shortfall predicted for the World Trade Center Health Program. The shortfall would lead to new applicants being barred from enrolling in the World Trade Center Health Program, and likely disrupt the quality care the program affords first responders and survivors battling 9/11 related cancers.
“I will never stop fighting for my brothers and sisters in uniform who gave everything of themselves responding to the attacks on September 11th,” said D’Esposito. “It is vital that we do everything possible to support the first responders and survivors who lived through those trying times 21 years ago while ensuring that Americans who carry the scars from the attacks receive the quality healthcare they need.”