Because the n-dimensional, urbane Democratic party geniuses that created this marvelous healthcare plan for us all have never actually grokked what 'volunteer' means in the first place.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs has asked the Internal Revenue Service, which has partial oversight of the law, to clarify if current IRS treatment of volunteer firefighters as employees means their hose companies or towns must offer health insurance coverage or pay a penalty if they don't.
The organization representing the fire chiefs has been working on the issue with the IRS and White House for months.
"It could be a huge deal," said U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11, Hazleton, who is seeking clarification from the IRS. "In Pennsylvania, 97 percent of fire departments are fully or mostly volunteer firefighters. It's the fourth highest amount in the country."
So far, the IRS hasn't decided what to do.
That the IRS can't figure out a way to finesse not getting blamed for sucker-punching volunteer fire departments across the nation should tell you everything you need to know about just how messed up Obamacare actually is. And here's the thing: this was both unexpected AND expected. Unexpected, because nobody sat down and said Hey, let's wreck volunteer firefighter departments' days. Expected, because (as Jim Geraghty notes):
Being on the Right, and having a skepticism about the ability of large, ambitious government programs, and a wariness about unforeseen consequences, isn’t optimistic, or cool, or exciting. It doesn’t stir people’s hearts, it doesn’t lift people’s souls, it doesn’t get their pulses racing or get them to roar cheers of joy.
No, all it has going for it is the long history of how humans have governed themselves and the advantage of avoiding big messes.
But let me add something, here. The volunteer fire department is something that you find in suburbs and rural areas: "Most volunteer firefighters (95%) are in departments that protect fewer than 25,000 and more than half are located in small, rural departments that protect fewer than 2,500 people." It should surprise precisely nobody that the aforementioned Democrats - who are either of urban origin, or who fled to the cities at the first opportunity - did not bother to check to see whether their airy policy program was going to mess up people's lives outside urban areas. In fact, I am not entirely certain that they're going to be particularly bothered to hear that Obamacare did that. A lot of the urban Left is simply downright terrified of the countryside, and most of the rest is simply dismissive of what they call 'flyover country.'
2014 voters, please take note.
Moe Lane (crosspost)