SOUTH CAROLINA (WBTW) – Legislation that would support firefighters diagnosed with cancer is headed to the desk of South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster for final approval. The bill would create health benefits for those who are diagnosed.
Representative Russell Fry of Horry County announced Tuesday night that the South Carolina House passed the ‘Firefighter Cancer Health Care Benefit Plan’.
The following local House representatives voted ‘yes’ on the bill:
- Rep. Terry Alexander (D – Florence)
- Rep. Lucas Atkinson (D – Marion)
- Rep. William Bailey (R – Little River)
- Rep. Heather Ammons Crawford (R – Myrtle Beach)
- Rep. Russell Fry (R – Surfside Beach)
- Rep. Kevin Hardee (R – Loris)
- Rep. Lee Hewitt (R – Murrells Inlet)
- Rep. Jeffrey Johnson (R – Conway)
- Rep. Wallace “Jay” Jordan (R – Florence)
- Rep. Roger Kirby (D – Lake City)
- Rep. Phillip Lowe (R – Florence)
- Rep. James “Jay” Lucas (R – Hartsville)
- Rep. Timothy McGinnis (R – Myrtle Beach)
- Rep. Cezar McKnight (D – Lake City)
- Rep. Robert Williams (D – Darlington)
If passed, the legislation will establish the “Firefighter Cancer Health Care Benefit Plan” which provides a supplemental insurance policy once a firefighter is diagnosed with cancer. The benefits will help them be able to afford cancer treatments.
Studies show carcinogens enter into firefighters bodies through their lungs and skin. House fires are more like hazmat situations because of plastics and synthetics in homes today, leaving firefighters twice as likely to develop cancer.
The bill includes reimbursing a firefighter up to $12,000 a year for out of pocket medical expenses, an up front payment of $20,000 upon diagnosis, and a $75,000 death benefit.
The benefits will be for all firefighters in the state including volunteer and forestry firefighters. The bill covers all types of cancer.
News13 has reached out to Governor Henry McMaster’s office to ask if Gov. McMaster plans to sign the bill into law. If he does, the law would go into effect July 1st, 2021.