The Times-Tribune

Miners’ health care

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Editor: Recently, by a vote of 63 to 36, the Senate approved a must-pass spending bill an hour before the deadline.

Absent from the spending bill was a renewal of health care for miners. Sen. Bob Casey, along with other Senate Democrats, fought to protect health care for miners and they deserve credit for the effort. Senate Republican­s and President-elect Donald Trump should follow Mr. Casey’s lead and pledge to renew the coverage before it expires at the year’s end.

Mr. Trump appealed to white working-class voters in his campaign. He won coal mining states, including West Virginia and Kentucky, by large numbers. He even won Pennsylvan­ia by a small margin. Yet he has been mum on the issue, and the GOP-controlled Senate failed to renew the health care as part of the spending bill. According to a Washington Post article by Kelsey Snell, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised to revisit the issue, but time is running out.

A deal should have been agreed to earlier this month as part of the spending bill. If something is not done, about 23,000 miners and retired miners will be affected. According to Snell’s reporting, about 60 percent of those retired miners were employed by companies no longer in the mining business and they have no other options, so they desperatel­y hope for a deal to be struck.

If Mr. Trump was sincere in his appeal to the white working class, then he should urge Senate Republican­s to join Democrats and strike a deal to save the plan. He can use a victory rally to bring attention to this issue and pressure Senate Republican­s to act. BRIAN FANELLI DUNMORE

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