JERSEY CITY - A law that provides medical monitoring and treatment for Sept. 11 first responders is set to expire at midnight Wednesday unless it is renewed by Congress.
The law is named the Zadroga Act, after James Zadroga, a NYPD officer who died of a respiratory disease he contracted while assisting in recovery efforts after the attack. The act covers medical expenses for Sept. 11 first responders who have a specific list of diseases and conditions after working at Ground Zero.
Former volunteer EMT and Jersey City resident Jaime Hazan says he has a lot to lose if the Zadroga Act expires. He says that he developed respiratory problems while working at the site and spends $10,000 on prescriptions each month.
"So if Congress chooses not to act, unfortunately, they're making the decision of death over life," he says.
Since 2010, the Zadroga Act has provided more than $4 billion in medical coverage. Some members of Congress believe the program is too expensive.
"We don't have to be where we are right now," says Hazan. "All Congress has to do is act."
Even without Congress voting to renew, there is enough money to keep the Zadroga Act going for another year. Advocates say they will keep pressing Congress to make the fund permanent.