"The Wondering Jew"
Jul. 21, 2006 - 22:05 MDT
AND THE BAND PLAYED ON
Seems like the good news is being touted to obscure the bad. An article by Ann Imse of the Rocky Mountain News this morning continues her reporting on Rocky Flats. Quoted in full, bolds and italics mine:
AID FOR SICK NUKE WORKERS SURGES
Program has helped 23,000 nationwide, far above projections
"An aid program for nuclear weapons workers who became ill or died from exposure to radiation and toxic chemicals on the job has paid 23,000 people nationally, more than seven times the original expectation of 3,000."
Since Congress authoriazed the program, some 2,400 workers from the now-demolished Rocky Flats atomic bomb plant on the outskirts of Denver have applied for aid and compensation."
"Nationally $2 billion has been spent in the first five years of the program and an additional $4.3 billion is expected to be needed over the next five years."
"The high cost, both in dollars and lost health and lives, were revealed Thursday by Austin Smythe, acting deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, during a congressional hearing."
"The aid program provides medical care and up to $150,000 in compensation to workers who came down with cancer, beryllium disease and other ailments as a result of buillding nuclear weapons. For decades, the workers could not claim workers compensation because records of their exposures were secret."
"Billions of dollars now are being spent on care and compensation even though the program is turning down 70 percent of the sick workers who apply, said Dr. Lewis Wade of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health."
Workers must prove that they were exposed to enough plutonium and other toxic material to cuse their illnesses. But records are turning out to be so scarce and inaccurate that many applicants, including those at Rocky Flats, say they can't possible prove a connection. As a result, Rocky Flats workers are asking for an exemption and automatic compensation in cases of cancer."
"Wade said workers are not taking the high rate of rejection easily."
"The government that once lied to them about their work and exposure is now telling them the illness is not the result of that exposure," he said. "That's a huge problem."
"Smythe assured a House committee that the administration plans to continue funding whatever compensation is awarded under the program. "Budget numbers for the program are rough projections," not limits, he said."
"The program now expects to spend $870 million in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30 and grow to $1.1 billion in 2007"
"So far some 473 former Rocky Flats workers have been paid under the program, while more than 1,700 have had claims denied."
Seems to me that I read our government blew some billions without helping any sick workers for a long time.
Apparently there was no answer as to whether an exemption will be granted to those who couldn't come up with "record" proof. In my own mind there must be only a few types of cancer caused by exposure to some form of plutonium, and beryllium disease only takes one form I think. So, I feel that if one can prove they worked at Rocky Flats and they have cancer or beryllium disease, it should be automatic that they be cared for and compensated also.
Yes, progress is being made, things are speeding up -- yet the percentage of turn downs seems to remain the same.
It also seems to me that the results of the grand jury investitgation should now be made public and be taken into consideration. After all it is easy to "lose" records, after having declared them secret for years.
Some progress seems to have been made, note that this was a Congressional hearing - - even though the verses of obfuscation and omission continued it appears. He said, "music please Maestro," AND THE BAND PLAYED ON . . . . . . . . . .0 comments so far