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