Congressman Lou Barletta (R., Penn.) joined Fox News Monday to express his concern that volunteer fire departments could be forced to close under Obamacare’s regulation that employers with 50 or more employees must provide health insurance.
"My concern is that currently the IRS classifies volunteer firefighters as employees for federal tax purposes," Barletta said. "This means that they could be required to provide health care or pay a fine under the Affordable Care Act if they reach 50 volunteers or not."
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Barletta noted that volunteer firefighters could also be grouped together with other employees from their respective municipality, pushing them over the 50 employee threshold. "Either way," said Barletta, "we all know volunteer fire departments across the country could never be able to provide health care, which I believe could potentially close fire houses across the country."
When asked what the IRS’ response was to his inquiry over volunteer firefighters’ designation under Obamacare, Barletta said the IRS would only say that such action was "under review."
"They could not be seriously thinking about requiring volunteer fire departments to pay a fine or provide health insurance," Barletta asserted. "Volunteer fire departments should not be worrying about whether or not they can provide service to the communities they love."