A few more facts about that health care bill for 9/11 responders that Eric Alterman and Jon Stewart are all worked up in favor of:
• The Congressional Budget office says there's $7.4 billion of spending in the bill between 2011 and 2020, though that number may come down as part of an effort to win its passage.
• The health care, including prescription drugs, is to be provided without any deductibles, co-payments, or other cost-sharing.
• Some of this money will go to pay for treatment that otherwise would have been mostly covered anyway by worker's compensation or by other private-sector or government health plans.
• The money doesn't just go to police and firefighters — "responders" — but also to "survivors" — anyone who "worked, resided, or attended school, childcare, or adult daycare in the New York City disaster area for — at least 4 days during the 4-month period beginning on September 11, 2001, and ending on January 10, 2002." The "New York City disaster area" is defined as Manhattan South of Houston Street and any block of Brooklyn that is wholly or partially contained within a 1.5 mile radius of the former World Trade Center site. You can also qualify if you spent 30 days in this area between September 11, 2001 and July 31, 2002. This includes me, though I never have really thought of myself as a "certified-eligible WTC survivor."
• The list of health conditions includes asthma, chronic rhinosinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), generalized anxiety disorder, substance abuse, and depression.
• The bill is 120 pages long.
• The number of responders and survivors covered by the bill are each capped at 25,000, for a total of 50,000 potential beneficiaries. There's some non-health-care stuff in the bill, too, but if you just take the total $7.4 billion spend and divide it among the beneficiaries, it works out to $148,000 each, or (not dealing with inflation or present discounted value), $14,800 a year for ten years for each beneficiary in health benefits over and above whatever they are already entitled to from worker's compensation or from any other health benefits or insurance that they have.