U.S. House Passes Bill That Could Save Volunteer Fire Department - WSPA.com

U.S. House Passes Bill That Could Save Volunteer Fire Departments

Posted: Updated:
Bill would help volunteer fire departments. Bill would help volunteer fire departments.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -  

Volunteer Fire Departments across the country are feeling relief after House Bill 3979 was passed Tuesday evening.

The bill also known as the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act of 2014, would not consider volunteer firefighters as employees under the Affordable Care Act.

Currently volunteer firefighters are viewed as employees by the IRS and would be as well under the ACA. This means that fire departments would have to give health insurance to their volunteer firefighters.

In South Carolina over 70 percent of the firefighters are volunteers, around 13,000 people. The cost to give them all insurance would be around 55 million dollars annually.

The Boiling Springs Fire Department in Greenville County has almost 20 volunteer firefighters. It would cost their station 120,000 dollars to insure them.

Greenville County has over 300 volunteer firefighters.

78 fire stations across South Carolina have more than 50 volunteers. If this bill doesn't pass the Senate, the stations would have to violate the law or close their doors.

The South Carolina Firefighters Association has written letters to all South Carolina House and Senate members asking for support of the bill.

Senator Lindsey Graham issued a statement to Seven on Your Side about the bill as it heads to the Senate,“Americans are tired of being run over by the Obamacare ‘we know best’ train. I think the overwhelming feeling is that South Carolinians want out.”

We'll keep you updated on this bill as it goes through the Senate.

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