Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) and Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) worked together to introduce bipartisan legislation (H.R. 3685/S. 1798) to exempt fire departments from a requirement to offer health insurance to their volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel.
The Protect Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act will amend the definition of “employee” under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to create a clear exemption for nominally compensated volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel.
The PPACA (P.L. 111-148) was passed in 2010 and contained many reforms to the American healthcare system. One of these reforms requires certain large employers to offer health insurance to their full-time employees. In September 2013, the IAFC sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to express concern that the IRS’ classification of volunteer firefighters as “employees” could potentially require certain fire departments to offer their volunteers health insurance under the PPACA.
Upon introduction of the new legislation, IAFC President and Chairman of the Board Chief William Metcalf stated, “The IAFC strongly supports this legislation to clarify the status of volunteer firefighters under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This is a bipartisan issue that could have serious impacts on staffing at fire departments across the United States. The IAFC looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration to help ensure fire departments of all types are able to continue saving lives and serving their communities.”
H.R. 3685 has 31 cosponsors, and S. 1798 has 5 cosponsors.
Your Voice is Needed
The IAFC requests that you contact your members of Congress and ask them to cosponsor this legislation. IAFC has posted online draft letters to representatives and senators (Word doc) for you to use.
To find your representative, please go to the House of Representatives webpage and type in your zip code in the box at the top righthand corner. To find your senators, please use the “Find Your Senators” box at the top righthand corner of the Senate webpage.
For further information on this issue, the IAFC has set up a PPACA resource page on the IAFC website.