United States Representative Lou Barletta (R-11th District) made a stop in Dauphin County on Tuesday. Barletta visited with firefighters at the Elizabethville Fire Department as well as other local businesses. During his visit, Barletta talked about the “Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act” which passed in the house unanimously this week. The act, written by Barletta, is meant to protect emergency personnel from the unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act.
Rep. Lou Barletta (R-11th District) says, “They are outside with boots collecting money just to buy this gear so they can go out and fight fires. They need their money obviously for their equipment, all the equipment I witnessed here today. There is no way the volunteers could possibly provide health insurance.”
Under the Affordable Care Act, businesses with 50 or more employees must provide their workers with health care benefits. Barletta says if volunteer firefighters are considered employees, fire departments will never be able to afford the additional costs and may be forced to close their doors.
Companion legislation is currently pending in the Senate.