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Obama declares seasonal firefighters eligible for federal healthcare

Posted On Wed, July 25, 2012

After months spent battling unrelenting wildfires in Colorado and other Western states, seasonal firefighters have finally gotten some relief in the form of an executive order from President Barack Obama. The order will allow 8,000 firefighters to qualify for federal health insurance coverage.

The directive comes after a group of firefighters from South Dakota were forced to act when a friend and fellow firefighter was burdened by more than $70,000 in medical bills for his premature son, according to The Associated Press. The crew, which had fought wildfires in Colorado, organized a petition and gathered more than 100,000 signatures to support federal healthcare for seasonal firefighters.

The petition's development coincided with President Obama's visit to Colorado in late June. After witnessing the horrific damage the fires are capable of, the combination of his visit and the petition convinced the President to take action.

The executive order will mean reduced insurance rates for firefighters that constantly risk their health in the summer blazes. According to Fox News, the federal program will reduce health insurance costs to $82 per month for single firefighters and $185 per month for firefighters with families.

Of course, due to the seasonal nature of these professionals' employment, the Denver Post reported that it is still unclear how long the benefits will last.

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