Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Politics against People who save lives

Pic source :

I always blame Indian politicians for giving false promises just to keep their vote banks happy and excited for a few weeks before the election….well guess what ?

Uncle Sam isn’t quite behind in this department either…

E.g.: The Hometown Heroes Act of 2003

The Public Safety Officers Benefits' Program became law in 1976 aimed to provide death and disability payments primarily to police officers killed in the line of duty. Firefighters were added in 1984 and emergency medical personnel in 1986. In 2002, after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, police and fire chaplains were added.

The Hometown Heroes Act of 2003 extended the same benefits to victims of heart attacks and strokes on the job.

The goal of the bill was fairness. "If you go in a building and a beam falls on your head, or if you go in a building and come out and have a heart attack and die, either way you're dead,” he said. "… If a soldier dies in battle, we don't check to see what condition that soldier was in when they lost their life."

The death benefit, which is adjusted each October for inflation, is now $295,194.

( Note : Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that firefighters face up to 100 times their normal risk of heart attack while working at a fire.

A Harvard study of 449 heart attack deaths among firefighters nationwide found that 32 percent died when they were involved in fire suppression or other activity at a fire. But less stressful duties were associated with higher-than-expected risk of heart attack as well: 13 percent occurred while responding to an alarm; 17 percent in returning from an alarm; 13 percent in physical training; 9 percent in emergency medical services and other nonfire emergencies; and 15 percent in a fire-station or while performing non emergency duties. )

President Bush signed the law in a ceremony on Dec. 15, 2003, and both he and Vice President Dick Cheney have used their support for the law as a sure-fire applause line in speeches before fire and police organizations.

Justice took nearly three years to write rules for the program, and began deciding claims only in recent weeks.

The law says that the presumption in favor of the claims can be overturned by "competent medical evidence," but didn't specify what that meant.

Justice Department began asking claimants to provide 10 years of medical records.

ie, Claims can be rejected for medical conditions that occurred up to 10 yrs ago.

The U.S. Justice Department has denied all 34 claims that have been decided, and has yet to act on more than 200 others.

Probable reason:

The administration was holding up the payments as "some sort of political payback" for the union’s support for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004.

Walk the talk is always a difficult thing right?

Source : (suitably edited for Blog use :-P)

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