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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services boss Seema Verma say the right things about 9/11 and insist they honor the service and sacrifice of those who risked their health downtown in the days and weeks thereafter. So why are their agencies shortchanging the seven vital health care clinics that treat active and retired firefighters and EMTs for World Trade Center-related ailments from which they suffer?
Thousands of heroes from the FDNY and EMS literally ran to help at the burning towers on 9/11 and in the days and weeks and months of recovery of bodies afterward. The feds said the air was safe. In fact, as this Editorial Board exposed 13 years ago, they breathed in toxins that would go on to take thousands of lives and sicken thousands more.
The Congress, after a shamefully long delay of years, rightly decided that America owed its unending gratitude to these men and women and promised that their health care needs would be forever covered by the people of a grateful nation.
But some bean counters down in Washington siphoned away $3.9 million from the FDNY clinics because the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, known as CMS, has a completely unrelated billing dispute with New York City’s Medicaid program. This is cruelty incarnate, especially coming from an executive branch whose boss claims to have helped at Ground Zero.
Remembering the September 11th terrorist attacks
Even after Rep. Pete King patiently explained the stupidity to the bureaucrats, even after this newspaper shined a light on the injustice this Sept. 11, even after the entire New York congressional delegation demanded the money be released, there’s just nonsense, with Treasury blaming CMS and CMS pointing to Treasury.
Cut the crap. You don’t rob from the heroes of 9/11. Mnuchin and Verma must fix this now.