Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Top News

Volunteer firefighters hosed by IRS Obamacare rules

See also

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Volunteer firefighters are counting on Congress to throw cold water on IRS rules placing them under Obamacare mandates that could bankrupt their operations.

Bipartisan legislation would waive the requirement that volunteer departments provide the kind of comprehensive health coverage that full-time paid firefighters receive, Watchdog.org reported.

Though the U.S. Department of Labor has long held that volunteer fire crews are, in fact, volunteers, the IRS puts them under the Obamacare umbrella as employees.

Except for larger urban areas, most U.S. communities are served by fire and rescue squads staffed by part-time volunteers. Of the country’s 1.1 million professional firefighters, 753,000 are volunteers, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Virginia, for example, has 28,000 volunteer firefighters — far outnumbering their career counterparts. In Pennsylvania, 97 percent of jurisdictions rely mostly or entirely on volunteer crews.

“This is a bipartisan issue that could have serious impacts on staffing at fire departments across the United States,” William Metcalf, president and chairman of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, said of the IRS interpretation.

Democratic U.S. Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Joe Manchin of West Virginia teamed with Republican U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania last week to introduce House and Senate bills exempting volunteer first responders from the Obamacare mandates.

The House measure – HR 3685 – has 75 co-sponsors so far, mainly Republicans.

Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with more than 50 full-time employees must provide health insurance to employees who work more than 30 hours per week. The IRS moved volunteer firefighters into this group.

“Make no mistake,” Barletta said. “This wrinkle we discovered in Obamacare would not provide health insurance to the uninsured. Rather, it will close down fire companies and do real damage to public safety.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Advertisement

News

  •  One year later
    How victims have recovered a year after the Boston Marathon bombing
    Video
    Watch Video
  • Tax day freebies
    Everyone dreads tax day, but some businesses are offering deals today only
    Tax Day
  • Obamacare savings
    The rollout of Obamacare will cost $104 billion less than previously projected
    Top News
  • Blood Moon
    The first of four 'Blood Moons' came and went; is it the beginning of the end for mankind?
    Headlines
  • Arrest for threatening tweet
    A 14-year-old girl is arrested for issuing a threatening tweet towards American Airlines
    Strange News
  • Pistorius cross examination concludes
    Oscar Pistorius sheds more tears during the trial's final cross examination
    Video
    Watch Video

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about Examiner.com and apply today!