House approves bill that helps firehouses comply with the Affordable Care Act

Washington – Who says there’s gridlock?

The U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously Monday, 401-0, to amend the Affordable Care Act so it’s clear volunteer firefighters don’t count as full-time employees under the health care law.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, said Jack Casner, the fire chief from her hometown of Cheshire, expressed concerns last year about the Affordable Care Act requiring towns to pay for health insurance for volunteer firefighters and emergency personnel. So she said that she and Reps. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, and John Larson, D-1st District, sought assurances from the Internal Revenue Service “that volunteer fire departments were not improperly classified under the Affordable Care Act.”

She said the law the House approved on Monday “ensures a permanent fix to the issue, giving local fire chiefs the predictability they need to allocate their resources appropriately.”

“Today’s vote shows that there are opportunities for Republicans and Democrats to come together on practical fixes – even for ‘hot-button’ issues like the Affordable Care Act,” Esty said.