WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 -- Rep. Timothy H. Bishop, D-N.Y. (1st CD), issued the following news release:
Today, Representatives Steve Israel (D-Huntington), Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) commended the Treasury Department for ensuring fair treatment for volunteer firefighters under the Affordable Care Act, known to many as Obamacare.
Rep. Israel said, "Volunteer firefighters provide an invaluable service to our communities and save lives. I'm pleased that the Treasury Department made sure policies wouldn't be put in place under the Affordable Care Act that would've been detrimental to fire departments on Long Island and across the nation. This is why I reached out to the IRS to make certain that they took into account the unique situation of volunteer firefighters, and I commend them for ensuring that fire departments aren't saddled with costs they can't handle."
Rep. Bishop said, "The Treasury Department's announcement today ensures that volunteer fire and EMS organizations will be treated fairly under the ACA, allowing them to continue to provide the same exemplary services to our communities."
Rep. McCarthy said, "I applaud Treasury's decision to ensure that ACA provisions do not wrongfully burden our nation's fire departments.
Especially on Long Island, we rely heavily on our volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel and their critical first response to emergencies."
The Affordable Care Act requires that an employer with 50 or more full-time employees (which is considered 30 hours or more a week) offer affordable and adequate health care coverage to its employees or else they could face a fine. However, the question arose as to how the hours of volunteer firefighters and other volunteer emergency responders should be taken into account in determining whether they are considered full-time employees and for counting toward the 50-employee threshold. Treasury is acting to ensure that volunteer fire and emergency services personnel are accorded appropriate treatment under the Affordable Care Act.
Today's announcement by Treasury ensures that volunteer fire departments will not be faced with unfair costs under the Affordable Care Act that they cannot afford to pay.
In December, Reps. Israel, Bishop and McCarthy sent a letter to the IRS requesting they take into account the unique situation of volunteer fire fighters and emergency services personnel and make clear that these organizations will not be required to offer health insurance to their volunteers.
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