Obamacare Could Cost SC County Millions To Cover Volunteer Firefighters
LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C. (CBS Charlotte) — Obamacare could cost one South Carolina county millions of dollars if they are forced to offer coverage to volunteer firefighters.
Under President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, Lancaster County will have to provide its volunteer firefighters who work more than 30 hours a week insurance. The mandate applies to departments that have at least 50 volunteer firefighters.
“If council made the decision to go ahead and offer them insurance, and if they took full-family coverage, we would be looking at literally millions of dollars a year,” County Administrator Steve Willis told WBTV.
Stephen Blackwelder, fire marshal for Lancaster County, told WBTV that Obamacare would have a major impact of the 300 volunteers.
“Without our volunteers, we would be nothing,” Blackwelder stated. “Our volunteers are here 24/7 and they are willing to risk their lives and drop whatever they are doing to come help.”
Lancaster County is one of thousands of fire departments across the nation that could close due to the Affordable Care Act.
“I thought the kinks were worked out of Obamacare at the first of the month,” Central Florida volunteer firefighter Carl Fabrizi told Sunshine State News. “Man, oh, man, this could potentially destroy some real good companies in Florida.”
Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., has introduced a bill that would make volunteer firefighters exempt from Obamacare.
“This is just another example of how Obamacare was not well thought out,” Barletta said in a statement to The Standard-Speaker. “I would rather tear down the whole thing and start over again with a fresh health care approach, but the president has made it clear that he won’t allow that happen. So, we’re left to try and pave over the potholes, and this is a big one — possibly affecting fire stations nationwide.”