Battle to Save Volunteer Emergency Responders from ObamaCare
HARRISBURG — Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren/Forest/McKean) today participated in a joint House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and Labor and Industry Committee hearing where she offered her support for Pennsylvania Congressman Lou Barletta and his legislation to immediately exempt emergency service volunteers from being counted as full-time employees under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Across Pennsylvania, volunteer fire companies are being notified that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may be poised to rule that such companies are businesses with 50 or more employees, bringing them under the requirements of ACA, commonly referred to as ObamaCare. Currently, 71 percent of fire departments in the nation are staffed by volunteers, and in Pennsylvania, that number jumps to 97 percent. An ACA requirement on volunteer companies could force tax increases to cover the expense of health insurance or cause departments to close.
“With so many of our local volunteer fire departments struggling to pay basic necessities, such as fuel, equipment and facility upgrades and so many other ever-increasing operating costs, forcing them to purchase an ObamaCare-approved insurance policy is an absolute death sentence as 97 percent of Pennsylvania’s firefighters and other emergency responders are unpaid volunteers,” said Rapp. “If immediate action is not taken, our communities could be left completely without any emergency, property or life-saving protections whatsoever. I am without question joining with Congressman Barletta to save our emergency volunteers from becoming yet another unfortunate and unnecessary casualty of ObamaCare.”
On Tuesday, Rapp voted in support of a resolution calling on Congress and the president to exempt Pennsylvania’s volunteer fire, rescue and EMS departments from the ACA. House Resolution 584 passed the House unanimously.