FINCH BILL WOULD PROVIDE CANCER COVERAGE TO VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 1, 2016
Assemblyman Gary D. Finch (R,C,I-Springport) is cosponsoring legislation in the state Assembly to make sure volunteer firefighters are eligible for cancer coverage.
“I’ve always said that our first priority in state government is keeping New Yorkers safe. Volunteer firefighters live this fight every single day,” said Finch. “How can we ask these brave men and women to expose themselves to cancer-causing chemicals and irritants and not ensure that their health coverage includes cancer treatment? It is wrong, and this bill and makes it right.”
Due to exposure to carcinogenic chemicals, volunteer firefighters are diagnosed with cancer at much higher rates than the general population. According to the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY), these emergency service workers are 102 percent more likely to develop testicular cancer, 62 percent more likely to develop esophageal cancer, and 52 percent more likely to develop multiple myeloma. They’re 26 percent more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer and 21 percent more likely to suffer from intestinal cancer.
Finch said this bill “transcends party politics.” He encouraged committee chairs in both houses of the Legislature to hasten its passage through the process so it can get to the governor’s desk as quickly as possible.
“Volunteer firefighters are there for us in the most dangerous situations. When our lives are literally burning up in smoke, when our children are in the gravest danger imaginable, they are there for us. We need to be there for them and make sure their health coverage is complete when they need it most. These men and women are heroes, and it is about time we treat them as such,” said Finch.