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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Comparison of the Current World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program and the World Trade Center Health Program Proposed by Title I of H.R. 847

Scott Szymendera
Analyst in Disability Policy

Sarah A. Lister
Specialist in Public Health and Epidemiology

In the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on New York City, Congress passed appropriations to provide limited health screening and treatment services to persons involved in rescue, recovery, and cleanup operations around the former site of the World Trade Center. This program, now known as the World Trade Center (WTC) Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program (MMTP), is not authorized in statute but rather relies on discretionary appropriations to provide services to eligible individuals. Since its inception in FY2002, the MMTP has received approximately $475 million in federal funds, and over 57,000 responders and community members have met initial eligibility requirements for the program.

Title I of H.R. 847, as amended and passed by the House of Representatives, would eliminate the current MMTP and replace it with a program authorized in statute and financed through mandatory federal spending, partially matched by New York City. This program, proposed to be called the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), would provide full medical screening and treatment benefits to eligible WTC responders and community members. In addition, Title I of H.R. 847 would establish formal eligibility requirements based on a person’s activities after September 11, 2001, and his or her current health conditions. Health benefits would be provided by a national network of providers, and the program would be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The proposed WTCHP would sunset at the end of FY2020, or in FY2019 if a federal spending cap is met. Total federal spending on the program would be capped at $3.348 billion over the life of the program. New York City would contribute 10% of the program’s costs until FY2019, after which its contribution would become equal to one-ninth of federal spending in the remaining fiscal years. In addition to persons already receiving services under the MMTP, the WTCHP would serve up to 25,000 new responders and 25,000 new community members.

The House of Representatives passed an amendment in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 847 on September 29, 2010.

The Senate version of the bill, S. 1334, was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, where it was the subject of a hearing on June 29, 2010. The Senate bill has not otherwise advanced. However, on December 9, 2010, cloture on the motion to proceed to H.R. 847 was voted on but not invoked in the Senate.

Date of Report: December 14, 2010
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: R41292
Price: $29.95

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