Although $1 billion has been set aside for their care, sick 9/11 rescue workers have to sue the company in charge of this money first in order to access the funds. In the mean time their conditions worsen and many have died, and many more will die before being compensated. City officials, according to this USA Today article, claim that workers must first litigate in order to get the assistance:
City officials have long said that the money must first be used to litigate claims before it goes to workers. But attorneys filing the lawsuit in Manhattan's state Supreme Court argue that the money was created to reimburse ailing workers — not fight them in court.
As my Gram would say, why put off for tomorrow what you can do today? That's exactly what is happening, and it creates a frustrating process for rescue workers, rescue workers' families, and the attorneys who wish they didn't even need to be involved. It also sends a disturbing message to the general public: pray our nation never encounters another tragedy, and if it does, next time just sit on your hands instead of helping out your fellow American. The rescue workers' experience exemplifies the kind of bureaucratic idiocy that fuels distrust in our government and requires us to rely on the civil justice system for...well... justice.
How can anyone look at such a frustrating, unjust and wasteful process and conclude anything but that our country's heroes are being severely neglected? Three plaintiffs and their lawyers are not accepting this without a fight. This press release describes the claims involved in their mutli-million dollar lawsuit agianst the WTC Captive Insurance Company, Inc., Mayor Bloomberg, and others. An excerpt:
"They have received no compensation or reimbursement for medical treatment or testing nor even had their claims considered by the WTC Captive, despite its federal funding and creation nearly three years ago... The Captive and its management have spent over $74 million dollars of the heroes’ money on so-called ‘loss adjustment fees,’ including over $45 million in legal fees, to fight the ground zero workers’ claims, but they have not paid a single dollar to a Ground Zero worker who has become ill from exposure to toxic substances at the WTC and related sites,” said attorney Marc Jay Bern.
So who's more sick? Our heroes, or our government for not giving them the respect and recognition they deserve? Although I have my own judgment, I guess that question will have to be decided in a court of law.