Letter to Frank Pallone Jr, Chairman of Committee on Energy and Commerce - Malliotakis, Colleagues Make Bipartisan Push to Fund 9/11 Healthcare Deficit


We write today to highlight recent developments involving the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) and to urge you to bring forth H.R. 4965, the 9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act, for a full committee mark-up during this upcoming legislative work period. Congress should expeditiously move towards solidifying the WTCHP, so all the men and women who responded to and survived the September 11th terrorist attacks will continue to have the health coverage that they deserve.
As you are aware, Congress passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which created the WTCHP, following the September 11th terrorist attacks. Today, the WTCHP provides medical treatment and monitoring for over 117,000 first responders and survivors, spanning every state and all but one congressional district.
While Congress extended the program to 2090, the precipitous rise in medical costs and in cancer rates over the last three years has led the program to project a deficit in funding as soon as 2025. Furthermore, it is now being reported that, should Congress fail to act, the program will have to ratchet down spending and bar any new sick responders or survivors by October 2024.
Let us be clear, if Congress does not quickly address this impending crisis, then the men and women who put their lives on the line and who survived the 9/11 terrorist attacks will lose health coverage to treat the physical and mental illnesses that they sustained from responding to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Thankfully, Congress has a solution to this problem in the 9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act. This legislation not only addresses the current funding shortfall directly, but also ensures adequate funding for years to come. However, despite H.R. 4965 having bipartisan support, House Democrats sought to address this through the highly divisive and partisan reconciliation process, which ultimately failed. Since then, the Majority has been inexplicably dragging its feet on moving this critical legislation forward.
9/11 first responders and survivors deserve to have certainty about their continued access to care for 9/11-related health conditions. Given the recent developments surrounding the WTCHP, we urge you to prioritize the heroes who put their lives in danger on that fateful day by working in a bipartisan manner to find a pay-for and bring forth H.R. 4965 for a full committee mark-up.
We appreciate your attention to this matter and welcome a quick resolution to this time-sensitive issue.