In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined the chorus of state officials calling on the federal government to provide the city with more funding for sustained treatment of 9/11-related illnesses. From VOA's New York Bureau, correspondent Barbara Schoetzau reports.
Bloomberg made public the findings of a panel assigned to review the health impact of the 9/11 attacks on the city and to determine what needs to be done to help those affected over the long term.
The panel found a significant lack of funding for 9/11 health programs, including absolutely no federal support for the treatment of residents and other non-first responders.
The report concludes that the health impact of the attacks on the World Trade Center September 11, 2001, is costing New York's health care system $393 million each year. The panel recommends the federal government contribute $150 million a year for essential health programs.
Bloomberg says he welcomes President Bush's recent pledge of an additional $25 million to the city. But he says it is not enough. At the very least, the mayor says, the federal government must cover the costs that are essential.
"President Bush's preliminary budget does not address these ongoing needs so I will work closely with our congressional delegation to make sure this critical funding is secured. I believe that our first responders were responding to an act of war against this nation and the federal has a clear responsibility to them that it must meet," he said.
Bloomberg says he is accepting all the reports recommendations, including the establishment of a new Victims Compensation Fund.
The Mayor is scheduled to testify on the health funding issue next month before a Senate committee.