Affordable Care Act concerns volunteer fire companies

Written by Matt Paul, Reporter/Producer | Dec 18, 2013 4:53 AM

(East Lampeter Twp.) -- The federal Affordable Care Act's employer mandate could have dire consequences for volunteer fire companies across the state.

Organizations with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees will be required to offer health insurance, starting in 2015, under the ACA.

But the IRS considers volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians employees for tax purposes.

This fine print has many departments -- and now some congressmen -- concerned they'll have to shut down if they are subject to the employer mandate.

Lancaster County Commissioner Scott Martin, a Republican, shares their concern. He says volunteer firefighters are invaluable to their communities.

“How do you put a price on people who give of their personal time, convince their employers to let them go on a whim when that pager goes off, who are willing to go into fires and pull out people, who are willing to use their vacation time to take training – how do you put a value on that? You can’t.”

Martin joined GOP Congressman Joe Pitts and others at the Lafayette Fire Company in East Lampeter Township to urge passage of legislation that would exempt such volunteers from the mandate.

The IRS has yet publicly discuss its interpretation of the law.

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