Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Actby Representative Steve Stivers
Posted on 2014-01-08
STIVERS. I would like to thank the gentleman for yielding, and I
would like to thank him for his strong leadership on this issue.
Mr. Speaker, I am a proud cosponsor of H.R. 3685. The health care law could cause many communities to lose fire service because of an unintended consequence of the law that would treat these volunteer firefighters as employees and that would require them to have health insurance.
Volunteer firefighters risk their lives every day to provide our safety. They provide important emergency services in many of our communities. In fact, in Ohio, 70 percent of our fire departments are either fully or partially staffed by over 16,000 volunteer firefighters. Unfortunately, we could risk service in some of our communities if these communities are required to pay either a penalty or provide insurance. My district towns, like McConnelsville, Ohio, use volunteer firefighters, and they raise money. Every year at a dinner, they raise about $10,000 to help pay for the costs associated with their volunteer firefighters. If they had to pay penalties and insurance on top of that, it could cause them to lose service. I think these families and these communities that are served by volunteer firefighters deserve the same service as other communities and shouldn't lose their services as a result of the health care law.
We don't want to put American families and Ohio families at risk of losing their fire service, which is why I am a proud cosponsor of H.R. 3685.
I would like to thank the gentleman for his leadership, and I hope everyone will support the bill.