Harkins, Merski: Cancer screenings for firefighters will save lives

ERIE, June 28 – Realizing the inherently dangerous nature of being a full-time firefighter, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today they have introduced legislation that would entitle these brave heroes to cancer screenings with no out-of-pocket costs.

The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said their legislation would provide cancer screenings for every full-time paid firefighter to once within the first three years of employment and every three years thereafter while employed. Harkins and Merski emphasized that these screenings would be covered by the health insurance policies provided by the firefighter’s employer, with no out-of-pocket expenses incurred.

“Firefighters risk their life and health keeping our communities safe,” Merski said. “It is imperative we take proactive measures that promote their well-being, and covering screenings for life-altering diseases such as cancer is an initiative that everyone can agree upon. Our firefighters are there for us when we need them -- exposed to carcinogens in the line of duty. Let’s be there for them, and make sure they have access to critical cancer screenings for preventive care.” 

“Our brave firefighters are the first line of defense during an emergency, and they deserve the type of foresighted health care treatments that can detect irregularities,” Harkins said. “This legislation will put firefighters on a health care regimen, covered by their insurance provider, that will ultimately save lives through early detection.”

The lawmakers said the legislation, H.B. 1492, has been referred to the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and is awaiting consideration.