NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Former “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart was at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in Lower Manhattan Sunday, reminding first responders and survivors with 9/11 related health issues that medical care is available through the James Zadroga 9/11 Compensation Act.
Stewart sat down with John Feal, of the FealGood Foundation, and Dr. James Melius, of the 9/11 Health Watch group for a roughly 40-minute Facebook Live special urging members who may be eligible to sign up for the program.READ MORE: $432M Winning Mega Millions Ticket Sold At Manhattan Pizza Shop
Around 75,000 people with 9/11-related illnesses have been given health care coverage due to the Zadroga Act, WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz reported. But health experts say there are likely tens of thousands more who could be getting help.
“Some of it also is the stoicism of that community, the first responder community, you know ‘I’m okay, I’ll get through it,'” Stewart said. “This is to say ‘you don’t have to, it’s there to help.'”
Retired NYPD officer Kenny Anderson, now in a motorized wheelchair due to complications from an illness he developed while working at Ground Zero, says he knows there’s others like him who may be reluctant to seek help.
“Cops and firemen, they tend to not help themselves, they want to help other people,” Anderson said.READ MORE: Coroner Confirms Remains Found Are Gabby Petito's, Says Manner Of Death Is A Homicide As Search Resumes For Brian Laundrie
A health screening to see if someone is eligible for coverage is free. If you are a responder, you do not even need to be sick to sign up for coverage, Dr. Melius said.
“They will monitor you on an annual basis for the rest of your life,” Dr. Melius said.
The bill is named for James Zadroga, a NYPD officer who died of a 9/11-related illness. Components of the bill were shut down in October 2015, as Congress debated extending the bill.
Stewart was an active advocate for the extension, making several appearances on late-night television, leading a rally on Capitol Hill, and standing in solidarity with other politicians who supported the cause.
An extension of the Zadroga Act was included in Congress’ year-end spending bill that was passed in December 2015. It extends funding for the health program until 2090.MORE NEWS: 7 Pedestrians Hurt After Being Struck By A Vehicle In The Bronx; Hunt Continues For Driver, Passenger
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