ObamaCare attacks volunteer fire departments
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Among ObamaCare's manifest unintended consequences are its potentially ruinous effects on volunteer fire departments — which do not deserve to be hosed by this noxious law's “employer mandate.”
That mandate requires employers with more than 50 employees to provide health-care coverage or pay fines. And because the Internal Revenue Service historically has considered volunteer firefighters “employees” for tax purposes — and is in charge of determining which employers that mandate covers — these unpaid protectors of people and property face the potential demise of their selfless service at the hands of ObamaCare.
Edward Mann, Pennsylvania's fire commissioner, estimates that most of the state's 2,100 VFDs could be forced to buy insurance for their members. And with too many volunteer companies already struggling to make ends meet — through grants and fundraising that takes precious time away from training — this mandate could be their kiss of death, forcing residents statewide to pay more in fire-insurance premiums and in taxes to support paid firefighters if volunteer operations have to disband.
The IRS could update its ruling on volunteer firefighters' status. The Department of Health and Human Services could exclude them from the mandate in its final ObamaCare regulations. But neither can be trusted to do the right thing.
Thus, legislation to spare volunteer fire departments this financial death blow — backed by U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton, and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. — must become law.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- All taken seriously
- Saturday essay: Resurrection
- Keystone caper: Pipeline politics
- Liquor privatization: Now’s the time
- Easter 2014: Churches’ vital role
- Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
- The equal pay ruse: Deceptive stats