9/11 First Responders Health Care Bill | An Independent Voters View

As the Senate considers funding healthcare legislation for the first responders and workers at ground zero. I am struck by the magnitude of the bill vs the number of people being helped. I don’t have any issues with helping these folks; in fact I think we as a people are obligated to do so. They rode to the sound of the guns, and we do in fact owe them at least as much healthcare security as we give our military.

Much was made about the original fast track vote in the House of Representatives because the fast track version could not be debated or amended and needed a 2/3 vote to do so. Repubs and some Dems said no and carried the day to much derision by some Democrats, which was always loud, and never recognizing that there might be a better way to do it. Since that time, with debate and working together the projected costs were reduced by over $1 Billion and the methodology to pay for it was put in place.

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All well enough I would suppose. but I think we could actually do better by them by designating them veterans of the GWT so instead of creating an additional bureaucracy to handle these individuals, Congress and the President should do as we finally did for the US Merchant Marine Veterans of WWII, and that is declare them Combat Veterans of the Global War on Terror and authorize them full VA Benefits.

I suspect it would be the most cost efficient, and more importantly it brings them into the brotherhood of veterans where they belong and would be welcomed by Vets like me. It would also avoid creating a whole new class of beneficiary programs, when future events take place (and they will). It has the benefit of taking politics out of it and funding for it could well be achieved by the plan to close loop holes in certain fees and taxes on Government Contractors already proposed. Those new fees could be pipelined to the VA for that purpose and when these individuals’ needs are met the funds could be used for the military and future GWT responders as well. It would be fair, it would be need based, and would not exceed those benefits given to our nations warriors.

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Comments 18 comments

GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 5 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

Hmrjmr1,

For over 18 years I managed the pension funds and the payroll for Police and Fire officers. I knew firsthand the richness of their pension. I called these pension golden because of the rich benefits yet I always fought for their high benefits. You see I knew fist hand the job that they had to do.

Some of the municipalities were simpler than others but yet the first responders were always at the bequest of the trauma at hand.

Having stated my background and general bias, I feel I can say soundly that your recommended is very wise. Designating them as veterans of the GWT and keeping the bureaucracy streamline is a critical item.

Kudos to you for bringing this item to our attention in a concise presentation.

Voted up and useful. Keep up the great work.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

Brilliant idea filled with common sense which is probably why it will never happen this way. Thumbs up!


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Seems like a sensible approach, Big John!


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 5 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

GMA, BPOP, CM, - Thanks for stopping by and commenting, The Bill passed yesterday with the costs down to 4.8 Billion, still seems excessive to me but better than the 9 Billion they started with.

See how it all goes. God Bless each of you and all the GWT Vets.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America

Merry Christmas! - and good news for the 9/11 first responders. I'll be sharing this Hub. Rated Up.


someonewhoknows profile image

someonewhoknows 5 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

Many of the victims of the destruction of the world trade center buildings would have better health today if,they weren't told that it was safe to work in the area where the concrete from the buildings was crushed into the consistancy of powder which entered their lungs.Instead they were told it was safe to work around and now they have all these health problems.Who is at fault for their lack of health? The very people who are expected to help protect it!


Springboard profile image

Springboard 5 years ago from Wisconsin

Very sound thinking IMO. As you described this, I would be a proponent. What I'm fearing is what I always fear in matters such as this, and that's that somehow the government will muck it up, people who never had a thing to do with anything will suddenly be in the system, and the costs will invariably skyrocket out of control as once the program starts, things will slowly but surely get melded into it. I think I said somewhere in one of my articles about the consumer credit protection thing that everything the government does becomes a slippery slope no matter how good the intention, or how well constructed the initial plan may be.


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 5 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

Springboard - good point as it is the nature of bureaucracies to grow, and linger beyond their usefulness. That being said, the group of people for this designation is already clearly defined at this point. But the melding and welding of other stuff to it would be something we (the taxpayers) would have to keep an eye on. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Happy New Year my friend!


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

Buttons up of course! Great thoughts and I agree totally with you. These people are warriors. They fight! They fight fire, building collapse, smoke, etc. They fight death continuously- and death from war!


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 5 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

Micky- So true on all accounts Thanks for stopping by my friend! Happy New Year!


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 5 years ago

Your common sense is what's lacking in Washington. Additionally, your solution would most likely be the best avenue for the first responders.


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 5 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

sheila - thanks for your confidence and for stopping by.


gr82bme profile image

gr82bme 5 years ago from USA

Great Hub. This is a fantastic idea you have here. i agree with you. You are very wise in much.


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 5 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

gr82bme - Thanks appreciate your stopping by I'm not sure wise is the right word but thank you very much.


Edwin Clark profile image

Edwin Clark 5 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

This is actually a great idea. It seems like the government these days likes to make things more difficult by creating more beauracracies instead of getting down to the real problems and solving it without spending additional money the country doesn't have.


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 5 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

Thanks for reading Edwin and your comment. Lets hope the new congress works with a bit more common sense.


stars439 profile image

stars439 5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Dear Hmrjmr1 : You always have good ideas to help the people that risk their lives for others, and you think about helping good people. God Bless You.


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 5 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

Thanks Leon appreciate your stopping by and God Bless.

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