How Will Obamacare Affect Volunteer Firefighters?

Some officials and organizations are worried about the effects that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a Obamacare) will have on volunteer fire departments across the nation.

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has already raised concerns about the fact that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has determined that for tax purposes, volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel are "employees" of the agencies that they serve, and therefore these agencies may have to provide health insurance for them or face a tax penalty.

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), which represents U.S. fire chiefs, is also seeking clarification about IRS treatment of volunteer firefighters, as is Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa.

"Forcing volunteer fire companies to comply with the Shared Responsibility Provision will not extend health insurance to the uninsured--rather, it will close firehouses and put communities at risk," Barletta wrote in a letter to the IRS.

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