President Obama has ordered that federal officials provide wildfire fighters employed by the federal government the option to purchase federal health insurance coverage.
On a recent tripto Colorado Springs, the president was apparently moved by the men and women firefighters he met, senior administration officials said in an interview Tuesday. When he returned to Washington, he told his cabinet that he wanted to “find a solution” for the hundreds of workers toiling in dangerous conditions without the option to buy in to federal insurance. [...]
Under a directive that will be made in the “near future” from the Office of Personnel Management, this group will get that option by the end of this month, White House officials said.
Not yet known is how many people are eligible and how long they will be able to qualify for the federal insurance program, since many move on to other jobs by the time the first snow falls.
Firefighters are classified as temporary employees, and as such have not been eligible previously for benefits. Their plight came to light as the first big fire of the season erupted in Colorado. In response, Diana DeGette (D-CO) introduced legislation to provide health insurance for firefighters and their families. But with all the time Republicans are spending on trying to take health insurance away from people, it seems unlikely they’d rush this proposal through, or even allow it to have a floor vote.
President Obama’s bold action means that the men and women risking life and limb this summer will have the ability to get health insurance, to protect themselves and their families. Thank you, Mr. President.
Source: Daily Kos