Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

GOP lawmakers craft plan for retired miners’ health care

- By Tracie Mauriello

Post-Gazette Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Coal companies say a new Republican plan to extend retiree health benefits is fair, but unionized miners worry it will siphon federal resources they believe should be used for their pensions.

The measure, which hasn’t yet been introduced, shifts the cost of retiree health insurance from coal companies to the federal government. The change would apply to coverage for unionized miners with retirement dates after 1994.

The legislatio­n would greatly expand the scope of the current Miners Protection Act, which now provides government health insurance only to unionized retirees of coal companies that have gone through bankruptcy or are no longer operating. The act was meant to help “orphan” retirees who were promised benefits by

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