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NBC's Nightly News had an interesting report about the firefighters who are battling the wildfires in Colorado and elsewhere:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...

Because their work is seasonal, they are considered temporary workers and therefore don't qualify to participate in the Federal health insurance program.  This, despite sometimes putting in the equivalent of a full years work in the six or seven months they are employed.

More and what you can do to help them out after the flames:

The report documents the case of a firefighter facing medical costs of $38,000 after complications from the birth of his child, which is the same as he makes in an entire year.  Another firefighter faces $70,000 worth of bills due to the premature birth of his child.  The firefighters are not asking for free health insurance, but simply to be able to purchase it under the Federal employees plan, which would reduce costs from $6,300 per family to $3,300:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...

The U.S. Forest Service is sympathetic but says Congress needs to act to expand eligibility.  You would think that there would be little opposition given the hard and heroic effort these people are putting in, but you never know with the Republicans in Congress and their presidential candidate.  Or conservatives in general.  Look at this comment on the MSNBC article:

....these are seasonal..part time workers...not full time, they KNOW what they are getting ahead of time. IF it is not enough, or good enough, look for another job...there are plenty of people who will gladly take yours, with no benefits, and be HAPPY about it.
There is a petition on change.org that is calling for health coverage benefits to be extended to seasonal wildland firefighters:

http://www.change.org/...

Add your name to the almost 120,000 who have already signed and help them reach their goal of 150,000 signatures.  Like everybody else, they deserve access to affordable health insurance.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    The British sent their criminals to Australia and their religious nuts to America. The Australians got the better of that deal.

    by EWembley on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:35:35 PM PDT

  •  They need the coverage. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EWembley, ms badger, frisco

    There was a troll comment a few days ago on this subject.  My response was that the volunteers who spent countless hours digging through the rubble of 9-11 were still having trouble getting their ailments even acknowledged, let alone paid for.  Even as many of them are dying of respiratory problems.  

    Those firefighters do it out of a sense of duty, not for the pay or glory. They leave their homes and families, risking their health and even lives, to protect communities and citizens they will never meet.  They do it because it is the right thing to do.  Only a moral midget would quibble over cost.  Unfortunately, in the halls of Congress we have an overabundance of moral midgets who are devoid of empathy and humanity.  

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:01:32 PM PDT

  •  I have a good friend who is now retired. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EWembley, jan4insight, ms badger, frisco

    He is a pilot and he goes out west every year to help fight the fires.  I am also an instrument rated pilot qualified in multi-engine high performance complex aircraft.  He wanted me to go with him one year, but my family and wife threw a fit.  I would have flown right seat as co-pilot.  I think about that often, and wonder how my life might have been different had I gone.  

    We lost an airplane and two pilots this month when their wingtip hit a ridgeline and the plane cartwheeled into the mountainside.  Aside from flying in combat and being shot at, this is the most dangerous type of flying there is.  The pilots have to dive the plane into clouds of smoke, so visibility is limited.  They fly only inches above the trees and ridges, and sometimes hit the trees and ridges.  All to save people and property on the ground.  The Hotshots (ground firefighters) lives depend on accurate water drops as much as soldiers in combat depend on close air support.  

    Here is a video that gives some idea of what they face.  Note the spotter plane that goes ahead of them to help the water bomber place the fire retardant exactly where it needs to be.  If they miss, people can and do die.  

    Get your tissues out.  This is a tribute to the Last Flight of Tanker 123.  Dammit, give these heroes some insurance coverage.  They deserve no less.  

    I cannot watch this without becoming tearful.  That could have been me in the right seat of Tanker 123 at 0:23 in the video.

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:21:31 PM PDT

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