New York, NY —
The city has announced its broadest commitment yet to people with health problems affected by dust and debris from the World Trade Center attacks. For the first time, Mayor Bloomberg acknowledged that a large number of residents, workers and students in Lower Manhattan may have 9/11-related illnesses. And now, he's turning to the federal government for support. WNYC’s Fred Mogul has more.
REPORTER: The new report estimates that these health problems cost the city almost $400 million a year. Much of that is compensated for by private insurance, Medicaid and other existing programs, but Bloomberg says the city needs about $150 million a year for ongoing treatments. That’s based primarily on current levels of illness and would not cover costs if many more people were to come down with health problems, or if the severity of existing problems got much worse. The mayor is optimistic that a Democratic Congress will come through with funding and does not have a backup plan if it doesn’t. For WNYC, I‘m Fred Mogul.
Bloomberg also wants to put an end to 9/11 lawsuits by getting Congress to establish a Victims Compensation Fund like the one that awarded $7 billion to the survivors of people killed on 9/11. Former Administrator Kenneth Feinberg has volunteered to serve in a similar role, pro bono, once again.