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January 10, 2014 - 4:57pm

IRS informs Collins that volunteer fire departments won't be forced to comply with Obamacare

posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins.

Press release:

After pressing for answers for months, Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) says the IRS will not force volunteer fire departments to comply with ObamaCare’s expensive employer mandate.

The Department of Treasury sent a letter to Congressman Collins this afternoon clarifying its policy.

For months, the IRS and Obama Administration refused to answer if volunteer fire departments would be subject to ObamaCare regulations, as volunteers are classified as employees by the IRS for tax purposes.

“The uncertainty of this classification left me seriously concerned about the potential impact ObamaCare would have on volunteer fire companies across the country,” Congressman Collins said. “Today I am glad to share that our nation’s volunteer fire departments will not be crippled by unnecessary costs brought on by ObamaCare, so they can focus on the important work of protecting our communities.”

In November of last year, Congressman Collins wrote a letter to the Acting Commissioner of the IRS seeking a specific exemption for volunteer responders. Earlier this week he spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives in support of legislation (H.R. 3685) that would ensure volunteer service responders would not classified as full-time employees under ObamaCare.

James Renfrew
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I have sent letters to Congressman Collins many times over the last six months and have yet to receive a response to any question I have raised.

C. M. Barons
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You probably addressed a subject not covered by official talking points.

Joshua Pacino
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James, if it makes you feel any better, I DID finally hear back from him after I emailed a very specific question. He sent me a pdf file with his talking points about health care rather than answering my question.

James Renfrew
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I did, in fact, ask a specific question in each communication to Congressman Collins. He seems eager enough about contacting me to raise money, as he did today, but no substantive answers about anything I've requested. I did not have this problem with Congresswoman Hochul.

Mark Brudz
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Would be very interesting to see what your specific questions were James.

James Renfrew
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One question was along the lines of "How many adults and children without medical coverage reside in your district?" I figured that the congressman ought to know the answer. But no response.

John Roach
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James,
Interesting question, but how would he or anyone know? Was there a form last year that you had to fill out to ask that question? You might be able to make some sort of guess, but how can you say for certain how many are or are not insured? I have not been asked, have you?

bud prevost
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Jim, that's funny(ironic). I never received any response to the 3 letters I mailed to former Rep Hochul. Nothing. Not even a form letter. Perhaps because I'm not a registered dem?

Howard B. Owens
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The Census Bureau collects that data.

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/hlthins/

I'm don't see it broken down by geography on that link, but a researcher with access to the survey tables could dig it out, I'm sure.

UPDATE: I NY, about 88 percent are covered. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032013/health/toc.htm

In Genesee County, about 11 percent of all residents are uninsured (2011 data):

http://www.census.gov/did/www/sahie/data/interactive/#view=mapping&utilB...

From the same data set, about less than five percent of people age 18 and younger do not have health insurance.

C. M. Barons
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From my experience there is little difference between the two major parties in regard to fund-raising solicitation. There is, however, a distinct difference between politicians, whether Democrat or Republican, and responses to constituent feedback. I have been lectured by every Republican House-member since Bill Paxon (Jack Kemp was an exception) when my opinion diverged from that of the office-holder. Tom Reynolds was the worst- condescending and boorish. Democrats by-large come across grateful for the input and assure that the feedback will be weighed as part of the decision-making process. Republicans cite partisan goals (Reynolds constantly invoked George Bush's plan...) to argue down dissenting viewpoints. The advent of email and internet communication has not significantly affected this trend. I always get "thank you for contacting my office, your opinion is valuable" responses from Schumer and Gillibrand. Collins generally responds in writing, but it's a packaged response explaining his position. (...Not naive enough to think the Democratic response is any less packaged, but it's genial.) The one form of communication that Republicans do better with, telephone contacts. Someone always answers the phone at a Republican politician's office and transcribes your feedback. Schumer and Gillibrand: not the case, especially at satellite offices in Rochester or Buffalo; I often end up calling NYC or Washington, DC.

Somewhere in the process Republicans seem to have dismissed the concept of representation.

Mark Brudz
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>>> I always get "thank you for contacting my office, your opinion is valuable" responses from Schumer and Gillibrand.

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