UPDATE: U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner weighed in on the issue:
“Not only is it disturbing that this provision was included in the law, but the Administration’s silence and inaction are all the reason for more concern…. In Colorado, words cannot adequately describe our dependence on these firefighting and paramedic forces – I speak for all of Colorado when I say how thankful we really are for their work. My oversight and focus on this issue will not stop until I am assured that this provision is struck down.”
It’s pretty obvious that Obamacare is a disaster thus far, but could it also be a public safety issue? A loophole in the tax code could mean that Obamacare could shut down volunteer fire departments across the nation. According to FoxNews:
“Since the Obamacare law doesn’t specifically carve out an exemption for them, fire departments where 50 or more people work – either as volunteers or officially as employees – are expected to provide health insurance for every one of them. In towns with more than one volunteer fire department, all the staffers will likely be lumped together for tax purposes, pushing many municipalities above the 50-worker threshold.”
It’s not clear how many departments in Colorado would be impacted by Obamacare, but according to VolunteerFirefighter.org, over three million Coloradans are protected by volunteer or combination departments. According to FEMA, over 80% of Colorado’s 325 fire departments are either volunteer or mostly volunteer.
But, hey, that’s ok, it’s not like Colorado needs robust fire services. Oh wait. It does – those pesky wildfires and all. Hm, well, that’s a problem then, isn’t it.