Medical providers will soon inform 9/11 first responders about a provision in the James Zadroga 9/11 Health And Compensation law that requires them to be run through the FBI’s terrorism watch list before they can receive health care benefits.
According to a letter obtained by Michael McAuliff of the Huffington Post, Dr. John Howard, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, is instructing health care providers to tell their patients about the provision before they can begin to receive benefits in July.
The provision was tacked on by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) during the contentious fight over the bill in December, which was blocked by Republicans at the time. Stearns’ amendment adds a paragraph stipulating the “disqualification of individuals on the terrorist watch list,” and requiring each potential beneficiary to be run through the list.
McAuliff reports participants “will soon be told that their names, places of birth, addresses, government ID numbers and other personal data will be provided to the FBI to ensure they are not terrorists.”
“Although neither we nor [the Centers for Disease Control]/NIOSH anticipate the name of any individual in the current Programs will be on the list, CDC/NIOSH is expressly required by law to implement this particular requirement of the Act,” Howard’s letter says.
The Zardoga health care bill passed by a vote of 206-60 in December after some controversy, thanks to a little help from Jon Stewart, who drew mass attention to the fight through his show.
Stearns said in a statement that “this amendment was adopted in the full Energy and Commerce Committee without opposition and it merely requires that the names of those receiving health benefits be cross-checked with the terrorist watch list to ensure that no terrorists get these benefits.”