Tuesday, December 17, 2013

MISHAWAKA, IN – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski recently signed on as an original co-sponsor of the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act, H.R. 3685, a bill to exempt volunteer firefighters and volunteer emergency responders from the employer mandate included in Obamacare.

“Volunteer firefighters and emergency responders are vitally important to the continued safety of our Hoosier communities. Implementation of the employer mandate would saddle our volunteer fire companies and emergency response units with a significant financial burden, forcing them to choose between purchasing fuel, proper equipment, or medical supplies. Congress must act to protect our volunteers from unfair choices triggered by the cost of complying with Obamacare, allowing companies to remain fully operational,” said Walorski.

Currently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers volunteer firefighters and emergency responders working 30 hours per week as full-time employees, forcing volunteer companies and units to provide health insurance or a pay a fine. The employer mandate provision states that employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees must provide health insurance or face a fine.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 75 percent of Indiana’s registered fire departments are run entirely by volunteers. This bill is supported by the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Volunteer Fire Council. Companion legislation has also been introduced in the Senate.

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