Today the federal government officially added 50 cancers to the list of ailments covered under the $4.3 billion Zadroga Act. "The publication of this final rule marks an important step in the effort to provide needed treatment and care to 9/11 responders and survivors through the WTC Health Program," Dr. John Howard, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, said in a statement.
Mayor Bloomberg, who once argued along with the City that the Zadroga Act's namesake didn't die from 9/11-related causes, released a statement of his own: "We have urged from the very beginning that the decision whether or not to include cancer be based on science; Dr. Howard’s decision…will continue to ensure that those who have become ill due to the heinous attacks on 9/11 get the medical care they need and deserve.”
But some are worried that the Act won't have enough money to support first responders who suffer from the now-covered cancers. "I'm very concerned there will not enough in the fund," attorney Troy Rosasco tells Newsday [paywall]. Rosasco represents around 500 first responders, and though he called the new addition "a godsend," he stressed that the cost of treating cancer extends beyond medical care. "[$4.3 billion] sounds like a lot, but when you start calculating people with cancer who are now out of their careers, their lost wage claims can add up to millions."
The addition of the cancers will take affect 30 days after it is added into the federal register. "Including cancer under the Zadroga Act is our moral responsibility as a city and a nation," Public Advocate and presumed mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio said in a statement. "We would not have reached this milestone without the tireless advocacy of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and all those who fought on behalf of the men and women who served in the aftermath of September 11th.”