If You Like Your First Responder, Can You Keep Your First Responder?

UPDATED: what effect with the Medicaid expansion have on volunteer ambulances? Check out this piece from Illinois Conservatives, Obamacare and Volunteer Ambulances.

Maybe not. More great news about Obamacare! From Med City News: 

The International Association of Fire Chiefs has asked the Internal Revenue Service, which has partial oversight of the law, to clarify if current IRS treatment of volunteer firefighters as employees means their hose companies or towns must offer health insurance coverage or pay a penalty if they don’t.

The organization representing the fire chiefs has been working on the issue with the IRS and White House for months. …

The health care reform law, known officially as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and derisively by Republicans as Obamacare, (editor’s note: in another flip-flop, at first Obama rejected the term “Obamacare,” then embraced it, then rejected it. Then last week, he embraced it again.) requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer health insurance. Companies with fewer than 50 employees do not have to offer insurance. Full-time employees are defined as an employee who works 30 or more hours a week.

Such employers who don’t offer health insurance must pay fines.

The requirement is complicated by differing interpretations about the status of volunteer firefighters within the federal government. The Department of Labor, according to the fire chiefs group, classifies most volunteers as non-employees, but the IRS considers all volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel to be employees of their departments.

“If the IRS classifies volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel as employees in their final rule, fire departments may be unintentionally forced to comply with requirements that could force them to curtail their emergency response activities or close entirely,” the chiefs’ group says on its website.

Once again, the arrogance of the Left collides with the one law that can never be repealed, the law of unintended consequences.


  1. Having grown-up in a rural Illinois community, Volunteer Firefighters were and still are all we have. They are fully trained as to whatever specifications the State Requires, as are the EMT’s. What this article is telling me is that ONLY Firefighters who are paid fulltime as their only occupation, and beholden to Union Bosses and Politicians, are the only people who will be allowed to serve rural communities. These communities do not have the budget requirements to man a 24/7 operation on the same scale as large cities.

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