Nurses: Senate Should Act Now on 9/11 Healthcare Bill - Ground Zero Bill a Basic Human Rights Issue Say RNs

Dec 21, 2010, 13:24 ET from National Nurses United

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The nation's largest union, National Nurses United, and professional association of registered nurses urged the Senate to act now to pass the long-delayed bill to guarantee healthcare coverage for first responders, volunteers, and others adversely affected by the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001.

"It is unconscionable that this basic humanitarian bill continues to be held up in the Senate. Those who gave so much to this nation deserve our thanks and our help. They should not be forced to continue to suffer in silence after so much sacrifice," said Karen Higgins, RN, co-president of the 160,000-member National Nurses United.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act is named for a New York City detective who worked for three weeks on the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site after the September 11 attacks and died in 2006 from respiratory illnesses believed to be caused by exposure to the toxic materials that have sickened so many associated with the attack response.

"Thousands have lost their jobs and insurance due to illness, and thousands have lost their homes. Some nine years after the day they rushed to aid their fallen colleagues, many of the responders had lost hope that Congress would ever pass the bill. It is disgraceful that they are still waiting," Higgins said.

"The poisonous atmosphere in Washington should not be allowed to interfere with our most basic responsibility – to make sure that those who risked themselves in that terrible moment should not be abandoned, especially not for partisan politics," said Higgins.

"Everyone in our nation should have access to healthcare. In this holiday season, we should do no less than to take care of those who took care of all of us in our greatest hour of need. They have waited long enough," Higgins said.

NNU is urging everyone to call their Senators and insist the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which has already passed the House, be approved during the current legislative session.

SOURCE National Nurses United