Montana Firefighters Want Health Insurance to Cover Cancer and PTSD
NBC Montana reports that firefighters in Montana are hoping to have health insurance cover illnesses like cancer and Post-traumatic stress disorder in the upcoming legislative session.
"I didn't smoke. I didn't chew--took care of myself and to come down to lung cancer," said retired Great Falls firefighter Jason Baker. "The toxic soot we're exposed to--that's basically a house fire."
Baker retired from the department in 2017, a year after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
"We have lots of data that shows we're at such a higher rate and exposure to contracting these different forms of cancer," he said.
Baker added that workers comp for Montana firefighters only covers on-the-job injuries.
"If a ceiling comes down on me on a call and breaks my back and I can't work ever again---I'm covered," Baker said. "Cause I'm injured, but you contract a rare disease like this, then you're not covered."
"So there are only certain things that are covered, not just an open blanket for any sort of cancer," said Montana State Firemen's Association Vice President Joe Kitowski "It's only the stuff that has been proven by medical professionals that firefighters are at a very high risk of getting."