(1) House Bill 07-1008, enacted in 2007, established a rebuttable presumption in the state workers' compensation system that certain types of cancer, when contracted by firefighters, are occupational diseases caused by employment as a firefighter.
(2) Nine years of experience has shown that the rebuttable presumption established by House Bill 07-1008 has produced no demonstrable benefit to firefighters but has led to significantly greater costs to employers of firefighters.
(3) The purpose of this part 4 is to provide supplemental income and reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs not otherwise paid for by insurance coverage to firefighters who contract covered cancers and to reduce the cost of workers' compensation insurance for employers of firefighters. This part 4 is not a replacement for workers' compensation coverage or any other kind of medical insurance.
(4) This part 4 does not eliminate or curtail the obligation of an employer of firefighters to participate in the state workers' compensation system, nor does it eliminate or curtail the right of a firefighter to pursue benefits under the state workers' compensation system. Rather, it provides a practical alternative for firefighters to pursue in dealing with the costs and burdens of covered cancers without being forced to rely on recovering compensation under the rebuttable presumption created by House Bill 07-1008.
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