KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

9/11 Responders Health Bill Gains Congressional Nod

In one of the last acts of this not-so-lame lame-duck Congress, lawmakers overcame wrangling and cleared legislation that would cover the costs of medical care for 9/11 rescue workers.

The New York Times: Senate Passes 9/11 Health Bill As Republicans Back Down
After years of fierce lobbying and debate, Congress approved a bill on Wednesday to cover the cost of medical care for rescue workers and others who became sick from toxic fumes, dust and smoke after the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center (Hernandez, 12/22).

The Washington Post: 9/11 Bill Passes Senate, House In Final Hours Of Lame-Duck Session
After a years-long battle and a bout of last-minute opposition by Senate Republicans, the House on Wednesday passed a bill that would provide $4.2 billion in compensation and long-term health-care benefits for first responders who became ill from working at Ground Zero in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, sending the measure on to President Obama for his signature (Sonmez, 12/22).

Bloomberg: Senate Passes $4.3 Billion Health-Care Bill For Sept. 11 First Responders
The U.S. Congress approved legislation today to help rescuers and clean-up crews suffering from illnesses linked to the wreckage caused by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City. The Senate passed the measure on a voice vote after Republicans ended their opposition to it when its costs were lowered and other changes were made. The House then approved the bill, 206-60. It now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature into law (Salant and Rowley, 12/22).

Reuters: Health Bill For 9/11 Responders Clears Congress
The bill would provide medical treatment for emergency responders sickened by toxic dust inhaled at the World Trade Center site in New York in the days following the attack. Republicans had balked at the initial $7.4 billion cost of the 10-year bill, which had been approved by the House, and blocked Senate passage. Backers early on Wednesday struck a deal whittling down the size of the bill to a five-year bill at a cost of $4.3 billion. The Senate quickly approved it without debate (Smith, 12/22).

CNN: Congress Passes Revised 9/11 First-Responders Health Benefits Bill
A compromise bill to provide free medical treatment and compensation to first responders of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack won final approval Wednesday from the House and Senate, sending it to President Barack Obama to be signed into law. The bill passed on a voice vote in the Senate, and then on a 206-60 vote in the House on the final day of the lame-duck session of Congress (Barrett and Bash, 12/23).

PBS Newshour: For 9/11 Responders, Some Peace of Mind as Congress Clears Aid Bill
A last-minute compromise led to Senate passage of a bill to provide up to $4.2 billion for monitoring and treating illnesses related to Ground Zero and to reopen a victims compensation fund for another five years. The House, which had approved an earlier version, passed it again a short time later (Brown, 12/22).

National Journal: Deal Reached On 9/11 First-Responders Bill
The House on Wednesday followed the Senate's lead, approving legislation to fund medical care for first responders sickened after the September 11 terrorist attacks and giving the New York delegation a big win in the waning hours of the congressional session (McCarthy, 12/22).

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