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Minneapolis St. Paul News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | Minneapolis, Minnesota | kare11.com

Lawmakers consider boosting firefighters’ health care coverage

The Hometown Heroes Assistance Program would provide an additional $7.2 million for additional health care coverage for the 22,000 firefighters in the state.

ST PAUL, Minn. — State lawmakers are considering a plan that would boost health care coverage for firefighters who deal with job-related health care issues.

The Hometown Heroes Assistance Program would provide an additional $7.2 million for additional health care coverage for the 22,000 firefighters in the state. The bill has bipartisan support and would address unique job-related health challenges for firefighters, including mental health care, cardiac issues and cancer.

And those advocating for the measure say there’s no question it’s needed.

“How do you explain to your 11-year-old daughter, when she asks, ‘Daddy, are you going to die? What do you say to that? How do you explain that loss of innocence?” asked former St. Paul Fire Captain Steve Shapira, a cancer survivor who testified at Thursday’s Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Committee hearing.

The committee decided to put the proposal on hold, pending an expected update to the projected budget surplus later this month.

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