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Senate approves $1M for firefighter cancer coverage

Kate Wells

Firefighters are one step closer to getting the cancer coverage they were promised by the state more than a year ago.

The senate approved $1 million today for the First Responder's Fund, which is supposed to cover firefighters who get job-related cancer.

Lawmakers created that fund in 2014 but never put any money in it.

Meanwhile, firefighters are being diagnosed with cancer and thinking they’re covered – only to find out they’re not, when their worker’s comp claims are denied.  

If approved by the house, that money could be available to firefighters immediately.

“They serve and protect us, and it's time for the state to step up and serve and protect them," says State Sen. Curtis Hertel, D-Meridian Twp., who sponsored the bill.  “We have responsibility to those that have got cancer in the line of duty, to make sure they get taken care of. And I think this vote is a step in the right direction.”

A separate bill would allocate $3 million for the fund in next year’s budget. 

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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