TUCSON – On Wednesday Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill that expands HealthCare coverage and compensation for firefighters in Arizona.
The highlight of that legislation signed by the governor is that more forms of cancer are now covered by their health care.
This new legislation has also expanded to include breast and ovarian cancers.
The Northwest Fire District has a firefighter that was recently diagnosed with cancer and his fellow firefighters are happy that he is now covered.
Captain John Clark said, “It hits exceptionally close to home now, so we had one of our members 2 weeks ago diagnosed with cancer”
Before this legislation was passed, firefighters were battling with insurance companies for cancer coverage.
One prerequisite they had to previously point to was a specific fire where they could have been overexposed to carcinogens.
Captain Clark continued, “He has been on for 18 years. How many fires has he been on in 18 years? When you think about the organizational man hours that’s going to have to go into tracking every one of those fires that he’s been on in 18 years it’s definitely an uphill battle to say at least.”
Adam Bernal has been a firefighter for 4 years and plans to make it a career. He was also excited to hear about the bills passing but also wants to prevent getting cancer in the first place and now they’re making some changes during and after fires including how they clean off their uniforms.
Bernal said, “Obviously the big-ticket item is a fire where you’re directly exposed to smoke and large amounts of carcinogens. However, there’s so much to talk about it as far as exhaust goes from the engines themselves.”
This legislation was supported by people on both sides of the aisle and all across the State of Arizona.