Obamacare threatens cuts for volunteer firefighters

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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Obamacare threatens to cut hours and benefits for volunteer firefighters due to its mandate that employers provide health insurance for all employees, including volunteers.

Volunteer firefighters are labeled as employees so they can receive retirement benefits and other incentives. But Obamacare’s employer mandate requiring employers to provide health insurance for all employees logging 30 hours or more per week is causing concern at fire departments.

Volunteer firefighters may see their hours or benefits cut, so small fire departments can avoid providing costly insurance or paying fines for failing to insure employees, AP reports. The likelihood that volunteers will work more than 30 hours a week is greater in the winter months, according to the fire chief of Freeport, Maine.

“Most of these are operating on a shoestring budget — holding pancake dinners to raise money to put enough gas in the truck so they can respond to the next fire, the next medical call,” Dave Finger, director of government relations for the National Volunteer Fire Council, told AP.

The Daily Caller has reported on potential fines and layoffs in various other sectors that provide public services, including hospitals. Obamacare has installed new fines for charity hospitals that treat uninsured poor people. The Cleveland Clinic, a top-ranked U.S. hospital that performed the nation’s first near-total face transplant, is facing more than $100 million in fiscal year 2014 budget cuts as a direct result of Obamacare and anticipates workforce reduction.

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Patrick Howley