Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Retired Miners healthcare to run out
If you are a retired miner depending on the government funded healthcare to keep breathing on this planet, you still have a few days left to plan you funeral.
Donald J. Trump made coal miners a central metaphor of his presidential campaign, promising to “put our miners back to work” and look after their interests in a way that the Obama administration did not.Despite what The Tangerine Shitgibbon may have said during the campaign, his plan for the miners health is very much like the Congressional Republicans plan, die quickly. The mining companies abandoned their retirees as soon as possible and the GOP sees no reason why they should keep those people alive.
Now, three months into his presidency, comes a test of that promise.
Unless Congress intervenes by late April, government-funded health benefits will abruptly lapse for more than 20,000 retired miners, concentrated in Trump states that include Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Many of the miners have serious health problems arising from their years in the mines.
In mining areas like Uniontown, Pa., and surrounding Fayette and Greene Counties, which Mr. Trump carried 2 to 1, it is an upsetting and potentially costly prospect. “It’s just a terrible, terrible feeling,” said one of the retirees, David VanSickle, who spent four decades at work in the mines. “I think about that 25 times a day.”
The president has offered no public comment on the issue, even as he has rolled back regulations on mine operators, an omission that has not escaped the notice of Mr. VanSickle and other retired miners.
“To me, that was kind of a promise he did make to us,” Mr. VanSickle said about Mr. Trump, whom he supported last fall. “He promised to help miners, not just mining companies.”
Responsibility for the retirees’ health plans has increasingly shifted to the federal government in recent years, as struggling coal companies have shed their liabilities in bankruptcy court. Congress voted last fall to finance benefits for a large group of retirees for several months, but House and Senate Republican leaders have yet to agree on a longer-term solution.
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