Advocates for September 11 first responders hailed a victory earlier this month when the government added 50 cancers to the list of diseases covered by the Zadroga Bill. However, their celebration may be short-lived as fears have arisen that the legislation may not have the necessary funding to cover all the qualified recipients, NY1 reports.
The concerns are over the similar across-the-board budget cuts faced by the military if Congress can not reach an agreement on deficit cuts. The fund could see an initial $24 million reduction in January followed by $300 million in additional cuts over the next five years. With a fund that is already strained financially, the significant cuts could drastically limit the bill's effectiveness.
"There is an agreement that something has to be done," New York Rep. Peter King told the news station. "Unfortunately, once you get out of the New York region, there's not that much concern about the 9/11 healthcare fund."
The Zadroga Act created a $4.3 billion fund for healthcare of first responders, and recent statistics have shown how serious the need is. According to the Patrolman's Benevolent Association, cancer rates for police officers who responded to the World Trade Center are triple that of other officers.