Fire departments voice concern over role of volunteers under Oba - New York News

Fire departments voice concern over role of volunteers under ObamaCare

Posted: Updated:
By FOX NEWS -

Fire departments and other emergency squads say they are still waiting to learn from the IRS whether they will have to pay for volunteers’ medical insurance under ObamaCare and that having to cover such costs would really hurt many small-budget operations.

President Obama’s signature health-care law requires businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance for them. However, whether the IRS considers volunteers full-time employees remains unclear, in part because some receive a stipend or other financial incentives.

“At this point, it’s pretty much wait and see,” Michael Berg, president of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad in Virginia, told The Daily Progress. “We’re an all-volunteer organization. …. There’s a lot of speculation.”

Volunteer groups around the country -- which operate in more rural areas and rely largely on fund-raisers and donations to buy fire trucks and other rescue equipment -- have gotten some bipartisan help from Capitol Hill.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat, and Pennsylvania Rep. Lou Barletta, a Republican, have sponsored legislation to exempt volunteer fire, medical and rescue personnel from full-time status.

“This is just another example of how ObamaCare was not well thought out,” Barletta said. “So, we’re left to try to pave over the potholes. And this is a big one -- possibly affecting fire stations nationwide,” Barletta said Dec. 11 upon introducing the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act.

He also said that classifying volunteers as full-time employees could result in “unbearable financial burdens” for agencies and is “threatening public safety.”

Barletta said he wrote the IRS in November requesting clarifications.

The legislation has support from the National Volunteer Fire Council and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

“Agencies don’t have the resources to provide health benefits to their volunteers, and individual volunteers have no expectation of receiving such benefits from the agencies they serve,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg.

The Obama administration this summer delayed the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s so-called “employer mandate” until 2015. It was supposed to start Jan. 1, 2014, but was delayed to give officials more time to simplify the regulations.

The IRS has yet to give an official ruling. However, Treasury spokeswoman Victoria Esser recently told The Patriot-News of central Pennsylvania that the agency has received comments regarding the proposed regulations issued last December.

“We are taking those comments into account as we work toward issuing final regulations on the employer responsibility provision, 4980H of the Internal Revenue Code,” she said. “Pending issuance of the final regulations, it would not be appropriate for us to comment on their likely content."

ObamaCare defines a full-time employee as somebody working 30 hours or more.

Among the lingering questions is how the IRS would count volunteers’ hours.

“Does it mean when a volunteer is wearing a beeper or carrying a fire department cell phone? Barletta asks. “Does it include downtime at the stationhouse? Listening to a scanner? These are all legitimate questions raised since ObamaCare has been forced on Americans.”

For more on this check out FoxNews.com 

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Medics who responded to deadly chokehold arrest suspended

    Medics who responded to deadly chokehold arrest suspended

    Monday, July 21 2014 11:07 PM EDT2014-07-22 03:07:56 GMT
    Four emergency workers involved in the medical response to a man who died in police custody have been barred from responding to 911 calls. The hospital that employs the two EMTs and two paramedics has suspended them without pay pending the outcome of an investigation into Eric Garner's death.
    Four emergency workers involved in the medical response to a man who died in police custody have been barred from responding to 911 calls. The hospital that employs the two EMTs and two paramedics has suspended them without pay pending the outcome of an investigation into Eric Garner's death.
  • Repaving of Palisades Parkway begins

    Repaving of Palisades Parkway begins

    Monday, July 21 2014 10:42 PM EDT2014-07-22 02:42:19 GMT
    Crews have begun repaving along the Palisades Interstate Parkway. The last time such work was done on the road, which links New York state to the George Washington Bridge, was the mid-1990s.
    Crews have begun repaving along the Palisades Interstate Parkway. The last time such work was done on the road, which links New York state to the George Washington Bridge, was the mid-1990s.
  • A look inside the exclusive Beautique

    A look inside the exclusive Beautique

    Monday, July 21 2014 10:38 PM EDT2014-07-22 02:38:38 GMT
    Beautique is Midtown Manhattan's new celebrity hangout with a touristy address and locals-only feel.The upscale restaurant gives way to a luxe lounge. Everyone here looks like a million bucks and has a bank account to match. It's no wonder celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio feel right at home.
    Beautique is Midtown Manhattan's new celebrity hangout with a touristy address and locals-only feel.The upscale restaurant gives way to a luxe lounge. Everyone here looks like a million bucks and has a bank account to match. It's no wonder celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio feel right at home.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices