Protecting firefighters sounds good. But do we really have to pay for it?

2017 budget proposal from Governor Rick Snyder leaves out money for First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund.

We saw an article on MLive.com about how the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund was not included in Governor Rick Snyder’s latest budget proposal. This fund was created in 2014 to help firefighters diagnosed with presumed occupational cancer.

Other states have adopted similar laws that presume a connection between workplace carcinogens and firefighters diagnosed with cancer. We think a lack of funding in Michigan shows this legislation was only symbolic and just for political gain.

Why is a separate firefighter fund even necessary? Michigan already has a workers’ compensation law that is supposed to cover occupational diseases. We think it boils down to the burden of proof. Special interest groups have successfully advocated for changes making it harder to collect benefits. It has become so difficult that many people have no remedy.

Proving that cancer is caused by occupational factors is nearly impossible under current Michigan law and the insurance industry has strongly opposed any presumption. Claims involving the heart or cardiovascular system are subject to a significant manner standard that involves a difficult weighing of factors. People with preexisting arthritis must show a medically distinguishable condition to qualify for any benefits.

Perhaps we need a new state fund for all Michigan employees. This will cover police officers, machine operators, auto workers, and other people who are regularly exposed to occupational danger. Let’s shift the cost to government programs and taxpayers.

Maybe a better solution is to fix the workers’ compensation law and hold the responsible employer accountable as the system was intended. We can use some of the $327 million dollar savings that businesses have enjoyed since 2011 workers’ compensation reforms signed by Rick Snyder.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today.

Related information:

32.7% drop in workers’ compensation premiums

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Muffet.

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