ObamaCare Cannot be Allowed to Threaten PA Fire/EMS Services

firefighterThe Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as ObamaCare, gives the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) the authority to determine what “businesses” should be required to purchase ObamaCare-approved insurance policies. It has come to the attention of volunteer fire companies in Pennsylvania that the IRS may be poised to rule that volunteer fire companies are businesses with 50 or more employees, bringing them under the stringent requirements of ObamaCare.

Stan Saylor, House Majority Whip, issued the following statement upon passage of the measure:

“The majority of Americans, and even more Pennsylvanians, depend upon volunteers for fire protection. Nationwide 71 percent of our fire departments consist of volunteers, and within Pennsylvania that number is 97 percent. Our communities support these dedicated men and women by keeping those companies funded and viable with donations from residents and municipalities. But, if these volunteer companies are forced into ObamaCare they would be burdened with costs that could force them to disband.

“Our volunteers are literally the backbones of our communities, and York County volunteers are the finest I have ever seen. They are there for river rescues in the dead of winter, cave-ins in the middle of the night, massive barn fires in the heat of summer, or any other horrible accident or situation one might find themselves in. They do not do this for money or notoriety; they do it because they want to help their neighbors. They sacrifice personal and family time without asking for anything in return, following in the steps of Benjamin Franklin who created The Union Fire Company in 1736 with 30 volunteers right here in Pennsylvania.

Putting lives and property at risk to pursue a flawed federal policy that was clearly not thought through before being enacted does not make sense.

This statement from the Pennsylvania House makes it clear to Washington – stop playing politics with the safety of Pennsylvania’s residents.”

~ News Release via House Majority Whip Stan Saylor ~
~ 94th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives ~


5 responses to “ObamaCare Cannot be Allowed to Threaten PA Fire/EMS Services

  1. This is much ado about nothing really. First it is highly unlikely that they would be considered businesses by the IRS and even if they were, the key component of the Act that would apply is “employees.” Volunteers are NOT employees. Every hospital and University in the country has volunteers and even though those entities fall under the Affordable Care Act, no one is telling them they have to provide healthcare for their volunteers. Just puff and smoke once again.

      • I never understood that to be the case when I had literally hundreds of volunteers at my hospitals. That doesn’t mean they don’t count it that way now, but I still see no way that all of the entities in the US that have volunteers, such as hospitals and universities will be expected to provide healthcare coverage. There is also a provision for the amount of hours one “works” before the Act kicks in, even for employees. I think it is highly unlikely this is a bona fide issue really. Time will tell. The other condition is most volunteers have jobs. I think it’s much more likely they will get insurance through their employer and even if they are considered employees by the IRS and even if the fire company were required to give them insurance IF they put in enough hours each week, all you would have to do is what thousands of employers are doing to avoid coverage, limit hours. What about the recent discussions we had at the school regarding their volunteers? There’s just no way the government and the AFCA will mandate volunteers to be provided with coverage. Just my opinion.

  2. Tim, I’m in agreement with you as well. Many Pennsylvania Fire Chiefs and including the State Fire Marshal are now speaking out against this and that it may force alot of Departments to close due to the expense. We all know that Departments already have financial issues and this is just another hardship for them. It specifically states that volunteer firefighters are considered “employees”. But in other states Volunteer firefighters do get paid a small amount by towns and cities, and these municipalities are required by law to provide health insurance for the volunteers, which will also but hardship on this cities, which means guess what the taxpayer will pick up the burden. This health care has been a disaster since day one, and we still haven’t been given the total truth. It just blows my mind how people can’t realize that this is going to destroy an already weak economy. It’s so nice that Mr. Jones thinks they can just limit the hours of the firefighters, I guess when they hit a certain amount of hours they should just stop working.. lol I mean seriously sorry guys you’re at 30 hrs you’re going to have to let this house burn or sorry sir you’re going to have to stay trapped in your car we’ve reached our max hours for the week. There have been many fires even in our area where firemen have been on the scene for 12 hours or more and that’s just one call. I guess Mr. Jones should let these Fire Chiefs and the State Fire Marshal know that it’s not a bona fide concern.

  3. Just like there’s no way the Gubmint and the Unaffordable Care Act could not let you keep your own policy. Right? There’s enough obscurity in the ACA and the IRS to do anything.

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