While touring a firefighter station in the Southern Tier town of Vestal recently, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) touted legislation that would exempt volunteer firefighters from the Affordable Care Act. The announcement comes a month after the U.S. Treasury Department already made the change.
Originally, the ACA counted volunteer firefighters as full-time employees. That would have made the Vestal fire stations and others around the country responsible to provide healthcare if they had more the 50 employees.
“That could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Which would ultimately mean that there wouldn’t be a fire department for this 29,000 person community,” says Hanna.
Last month the Treasury Department announced that the requirement would be waived. But Hanna says he wants Congressional action.
“So the Treasury can do that but the reality is its Congress’ job to do that and the president’s job to approve it," says Hanna.
The legislation unanimously passed the House of Representatives but is still in committee in the Senate.
Hanna represents a district that stretches from Utica to Binghamton and is running for reelection in November.