Obamacare Could Help Uninsured Federal Firefighters Access Health Insurance

Thousands of federal firefighters are battling massive wildfires in Colorado and Utah. But because most of these firefighters are temporary employees of the Forest Service, they do not receive health benefits under federal regulations. Bill Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, said health insurance is unaffordable for many unless “they have a spouse that might be able to get coverage under an employer. In some places that’s not an option.” The Affordable Care Act, on which the Supreme Court will rule tomorrow, could help them by guaranteeing coverage if they have a pre-existing condition from smoke inhalation and by offering subsidies to help cover insurance premiums. But if the Supreme Court overturns the law, as Wonkblog’s Sarah Kliff writes, “the firefighters stay in the same situation they’ve been in all along: Working a dangerous job and unable to afford coverage.”