Health Care Requirements Could Cripple Volunteer Fire Departments
Washington, D.C.—Yesterday, Rep. David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-W.Va.) co-sponsored the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act (H.R. 3685) which would exempt volunteer firefighters and emergency medical providers from the employer mandate under Obamacare.
The Internal Revenue Service currently defines volunteer firefighters as “employees” despite the fact they typically work full time jobs in addition to their volunteer work. As a result, volunteer fire departments and municipalities could be subjected to the Obamacare employer mandate and forced to provide health insurance or face financial penalties.
“Small towns and rural areas across America rely on volunteer first responders to provide vital lifesaving services,” said McKinley. “In West Virginia, 95 percent of all fire departments are staffed by volunteers. It is unfair to penalize these men and women who put their lives on the line with each and every call.”
“In 2010 Nancy Pelosi said ‘we need to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it,’” said McKinley. “Now, every day, we’re learning about more problems with this health care law. As soon as we learned about this problem we took action by co-sponsoring this legislation and authoring a letter to President Obama.”
“Subjecting volunteer fire departments, many of which need to raise money to simply outfit their members with equipment and training, to this expensive mandate violates common sense,” said McKinley. “For the sake of public safety and the future of volunteer fire departments across America, we need to take action and ensure volunteer emergency providers are exempt from this requirement.”
The legislation is supported by the National Volunteer Fire Council and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.