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Pa. Lawmakers Press for Obamacare Exemption for Vol. Fire Departments

By Brad Segall

BLUE BELL, Pa. (CBS) -- Three local lawmakers came to the Centre Square Fire Company in Montgomery County this afternoon to throw their support behind federal legislation that would remove volunteer fire companies from the Obamacare mandate.

The IRS has still not clarified its position on whether volunteer fire companies would be required to provide health insurance for their firefighters under the mandate.

But US senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) doesn't want to wait for that decision. He says his bill would protect those volunteer fire companies from the Affordable Care Act's employer requirements.

"They put in their time as volunteers to help keep their communities safer, and for that this administration is considering imposing a completely unaffordable burden on the fire companies for which they volunteer," Toomey (at lectern in photo) said today.

He was joined by US Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa., fourth from right) and state senator John Rafferty (R-Mont./ Chester/ Berks, third from right), who both say that resources are already tight for the fire companies. This mandate, they say, could force them to cut the number of volunteers or the hours they serve, possibly compromising public safety.

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