The Denver Post is reporting that President Obama has directed that federal agencies offer seasonal firefighters the opportunity to purchase health insurance. The President talked with firefighters when he visited the Waldo Canyon Fire at Colorado Springs on June 29 and stuck around to sign autographs for them after he made a statement for the media.
The issue of health insurance for seasonal firefighters has been getting increasing press coverage since some of them created an on-line petition which as been “signed” over 126,000 times. We covered it initially on May 24, and then NBC national news did a story on it recently. Local news outlets around the west have also given it some attention.
Some people thought a new law would have to be passed by Congress in order for firefighters to have the opportunity to purchase health insurance, but apparently the President is bypassing Congress to make it happen.
This will have a major effect on the budgets of the five large land management agencies, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out, including reactions from other seasonal employees in the federal government.
But, congratulations, wildland firefighters, and especially those who started the petition and brought this before the public. You deserve it!
Thanks go out to Ken