Skip to main content

Angeles National Forest firefighters make their way into a brush fire spread out over an area of more than 500 acres (2 square km) at Los Padres National Forest in California June 16, 2012... The fire started on Saturday afternoon in the hills of the forest between the cities of Frazier Park and Ojai. No structures have been burned and the fire-fighters have no containment on the blaze at this time. Picture taken June 16. REUTERS/Gene Blevins  (UNITED STATES - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)
(Gene Blevins/Reuters)
While Colorado goes up in flames, and the Republican wing of the Supreme Court writes the dismantling of Obamacare, the men and women hired by the federal government to fight wildfire are risking life and limb. Many of them are doing it without health insurance.
Of all the jobs where you might want health insurance, firefighting near certainly ranks near the top of the list. Firefighters spend two-week shifts working 18 hour days in dangerous conditions. Some develop breathing problems due to smoke inhalation.

But many federal firefighters are temporary employees, who only work six months out of the year. [...] Under federal regulations, temporary employees of the Forest Service do not receive benefits. That means no health care and no retirement pension.

“A lot of them are not making a lot,” says Bill Dougan, president of the National Federal of Federal Employees. “The only way they can afford insurance is if they have a spouse that might be able to get coverage under an employer. In some places that’s not an option.”

This is the status quo Republicans have been fighting for for the past two years. If the Affordable Care Act survives the Supreme Court Republican five tomorrow, it could help. Many of the firefighters make little enough to qualify for the subsidies to purchase insurance, making the premiums in reach. They'd also be guaranteed access to affordable health insurance, something that can be a problem for people in high-risk jobs.

If the Supreme Court five make the ACA go away tomorrow, nothing changes for these wildfire fighters in the immediate term, but they'll be denied those near-future benefits and the hope that they could continue to do this critical job and protect themselves a little bit. Their hopes go up in smoke, and Republicans will cheer.

1:41 PM PT:Please sign this petition demanding that Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduce legislation to make these and other wildfire fighters eligible for federal health insurance.


Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by MomsRising at DailyKos and Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, a gilas girl, bink, jo fish, TXdem, Radiowalla, ferg, teacherken, deben, native, badger, Gooserock, NYmom, PeterHug, greenbird, Shockwave, Pescadero Bill, ChicDemago, SanJoseLady, hyperstation, Mlle L, dsb, elfling, red moon dog, SallyCat, opinionated, bronte17, pmcmscot, Wee Mama, nyceve, whenwego, teresahill, KibbutzAmiad, highacidity, themank, chuckvw, mkfarkus, Aquarius40, chimpy, larryrant, jennifree2bme, jalbert, fumie, Iberian, wader, dejavu, sockpuppet, marko, mrkvica, pat bunny, RandRegL, ranger995, hoolia, texasmom, HeyMikey, joan reports, lcrp, zerelda, lonespark, Steven D, lyvwyr101, vacantlook, Jen Hayden, boran2, Josiah Bartlett, bibble, sebastianguy99, Gowrie Gal, rapala, marina, Independent Musings, chimene, offred, triciawyse, terrypinder, dewtx, juliesie, stagemom, YucatanMan, EJP in Maine, ratzo, Byrnt, owlbear1, majcmb1, GreyHawk, wmspringer, bjedward, Ginny in CO, coloradorob, JanF, xanthippe2, Alan Arizona, Paddy999, Land of Enchantment, kathny, Jim R, CJnyc, lgmcp, Mother Mags, martini, BachFan, Ranchita, myboo, vigilant meerkat, BeadLady, seefleur, blueoasis, uniqity, el cid, middleagedhousewife, Richard Myers, Statusquomustgo, kurious, Delta Overdue, Pandoras Box, cpresley, BentLiberal, Thinking Fella, tegrat, One Pissed Off Liberal, old wobbly, Cronesense, SharonColeman, ColoTim, gloriana, edsbrooklyn, FishOutofWater, Mary Mike, terabytes, LamontCranston, HCKAD, jayden, jedennis, second gen, SeaTurtle, millwood, gchaucer2, Librarianmom, madgranny, homerun, TomP, JDWolverton, MKinTN, Amor Y Risa, wayoutinthestix, zerone, filby, Cassandra Waites, Hanging Up My Tusks, Gemina13, Rolling, luckylizard, Karen Hedwig Backman, Quilldriver, Danise94, Mike Taylor, WearyIdealist, DavidW, GrannyOPhilly, humanunit, legendmn, weaponsofmassdeception, litoralis, bsmechanic, CanyonWren, maryabein, notrouble, Zotz, aunt blabby, dRefractor, zizi, bfitzinAR, Shelley99, Randtntx, Wendy Slammo, Larsstephens, BlueOak, FogCityJohn, GreenDog, CcVenussPromise, ColoradAnne, Simple, tb mare, dlemex, Storey, MsGrin, ericlewis0, Otteray Scribe, cocinero, Oh Mary Oh, theKgirls, no way lack of brain, annieli, Mike08, Mr MadAsHell, lexalou, deeproots, trumpeter, Hohenzollern, cyberpuggy, IllanoyGal, thomask, BarackStarObama, floridablue, worldlotus, antimony, sound of progress, randomfacts, StateOfGrace, Marihilda, blue muon, blue aardvark, kareylou, joanbrooker, DRo, Regina in a Sears Kit House, CoyoteMarti, DEMonrat ankle biter, ParkRanger, ProChoiceGrandma, allergywoman, The BigotBasher, I C Mainer, ArtemisBSG, absdoggy, Pinto Pony, anodnhajo, Siri, We Won, IndieGuy, JGibson, Horace Boothroyd III, mapamp, jan4insight, ivy redneck, MartyM, pittie70, Noddy, avsp, Glen The Plumber, Melanie in IA, ShoshannaD, GoGoGoEverton, nomandates, jusjtim35, Herodotus Prime, broths, weck, patchmo13, ggfkate, MarEng, LaraJones, k9kiki

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site