SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Following an effort by state Rep. Diane Pappas, D-Itasca, to support first responders, a law outlining new protections for police and firefighters who have contracted COVID-19 recently went into effect.
“I am committed to ensuring that the men and women putting their lives on the line to keep us safe are financially supported as they face the challenges of their bravery,” Pappas said. “Those on the front lines of this pandemic don’t deserve to be saddled with medical debt if they catch COVID-19. Firefighters and police officers deserve direct assistance during this difficult time, and it is my priority they get it.”
Pappas voted to pass House Bill 2455, which expands workers compensation benefits for first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty to include all those who have contracted COVID-19. This legislation was the result of an agreement between representatives of business and labor interests to give Illinoisans combatting this disease on the front lines the financial aid they need, without putting an undue burden on the Illinois economy. The bill was signed into law in June and went into effect immediately.
“This crisis has highlighted how impressive our doctors, nurses and medical professionals are and how broken the system for paying for their services is,” Pappas said. “For far too many Illinoisans, health care is prohibitively expensive, and mounting medical debt is a terrifying consequence of the coronavirus. Making health care more affordable will remain a key issue for me, and I thank the governor for his swift action signing this legislation into law.”