- The Washington Times - Monday, January 12, 2015

The House voted Monday night to exempt volunteer firefighters and emergency personnel from Obamacare’s insurance mandate on employers, a follow-up to a similar bill for veterans that passed unanimously last week.

In a 401-0 vote, the chamber said volunteer responders should not count toward the tally of workers that determines whether an employer must provide health insurance or pay fines under the Affordable Care Act.

The law’s “employer mandate” kicked in at the start of the year for employers of 100-plus workers and will phase in for employers of 50 to 100 people next year.

Employers with fewer than 50 workers are exempt from the mandate.

Lawmakers hope employers will be encouraged to hire veterans by exempting them from the count — up to 50.

On Monday, the House passed its firefighter clarification so that municipalities and other governments will not be required to provide costly health coverage to workers who volunteer and receive nominal financial reimbursements or incentives. 

“Thousands of communities rely on volunteer firefighters, and Obamacare’s employer mandate could turn their lives upside down,” said Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. “This bill makes it clear these volunteer firefighters are exempt; it gives them the certainty they deserve.”


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