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9/11 First Responders Hurt by Pataki Workers Comp Bill

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Gov. Pataki’s new workers’ compensation “reform” bill will be a disaster for the heroes of 9/11 – the “first responders”. As recently detailed in an excellent Newsday article, first responders are getting sicker every day, and many are now dying from their exposure to toxins at Ground Zero.
As I have stated before, the Pataki workers comp bill takes away benefits from the most seriously disabled by capping how long they can receive benefits. Chronically ill first responders – the ones who will never recover – will then be forced into the welfare system. How fair is that?
A good friend of mine (age 36) worked at Ground Zero for over two months looking for the remains of his firefighter brother. Now he has Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD). MRI tests show potential pre-cancerous lesions on his lungs. He can barely mow his lawn, much less jump and run with his two great kids.
Did Governor Pataki think about the impact of losing workers comp benefits on first responders before proposing this ill advised legislation? I doubt it. Those who know him personally speak of a genuinely good man. I think he, along with Rudy Giuliani, did a fantastic job after 9/11 and this blog has applauded him when he signed excellent pension protections for 9/11 first responders. Perhaps he is just getting some bad advice from those pushing him to run for President.
Thanks to our good friends at the Workers’ Comp Insider for pointing us to the excellent Newsday article.

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