Today, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (CO-1) issued the following statement in response to the breaking news that this evening President Obama directed federal officials to give wildland firefighters access to health insurance. Earlier today, Rep. DeGette introduced the Wildland Firefighter Health Protection Act, H.R. 6092, a bill to extend health insurance coverage benefits to the thousands of firefighters fighting the unprecedented wildfires in Colorado and across the West.
"I'm elated the President has stepped in to bring access to health insurance for wildland firefighters, and I look forward to working with him and the White House to implement this new policy. I thank the Administration for joining with us and with the thousands of brave men and women battling devastating wild fires across the West, in recognizing the critical importance of protecting the health of those who protect our communities.
"In recent weeks, this fight has clearly reminded all of us of what we owe to the people whose sacrifice and personal risk protect our homes, our families, and our communities. I was proud to introduce my bill today and now I am so pleased that the President's action will bring firefighters the health insurance they deserve, during this exceptionally difficult fire season. I hope I can continue to work together with the White House and the wildland firefighter community to ensure that firefighters are given every possible tool they need to save our communities and safeguard the Mountain West, while they and their families are protected as well."