Printer Friendly

COAL HEALTH CARE CRISIS THREATENS RETIREES, ECONOMY

 COAL HEALTH CARE CRISIS THREATENS RETIREES, ECONOMY
 WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Thousands of retired Kentucky


coal miners and their families are in imminent danger of losing their health care benefits. At stake is the health of 15,000 retired miners and their families and over $30 million dollars annually injected into the Kentucky economy through disbursement of health care funds. If retirees lose their benefits, the resulting economic hardship will have a devastating domino effect on communities throughout Kentucky. Counties in Eastern Kentucky will be particularly affected as many area health care providers depend on these dollars to survive.
 According to an analysis of Health and Retirement Funds data by the Coal Industry Health Protection Coalition, the state of Kentucky would lose $30 million in funds which covers medical, hospital and prescription drug costs incurred by the 15,000 UMWA Funds beneficiaries residing in the state.
 Nationally, over 120,000 retired miners and their widows may lose the lifetime health care benefits promised to them by President Harry Truman as part of an agreement struck between the government and the miners -- the Krug-Lewis agreement. The agreement established a health care trust fund that coal companies would contribute to and included a federal promise of health benefits for miners and their dependents. Because many companies have gone out of business or have reneged on their obligations, fewer and fewer companies are left to pay for all the benefits. Unless there is a solution, these overburdened companies will likely cease contributing to the funds when the current collective bargaining agreement expires in February of 1993.
 Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) have introduced legislation (S. 1989, H.R. 4013) that would solve the crisis without the use of any taxpayer dollars. Every coal company still in existence would be required to pay for the cost of retirees who could be identified with that company. In addition, it would establish an industry-wide, hourly wage fee to be paid by all coal companies to assure continued benefits for "orphaned" retirees whose former companies no longer exist.
 "Kentucky Senator Wendell Ford is in a unique position to help us keep the promise to retired Kentucky miners of lifetime health care benefits, while not costing the taxpayers one dime," stated UMWA President Richard Trumka. "We are looking to Senator Ford and Senator McConnell to play leadership roles on this priority issue. It is critical that these retired miners, with an average age of 75, receive the health care benefits due them. At stake is not only the well being of over 15,000 retired mineworkers and their families, but the economic health of communities throughout Kentucky."
 According to Michael K. Reilly, chairman, Bituminous Coal Operator's Association, "If S. 1989 and H.R. 4013 pass, Kentucky wins. If the legislation doesn't pass, Kentucky and 120,000 retirees lose."
 -0- 2/7/92
 /CONTACT: Eric Shulman of Coal Industry Health Protection Coalition, 202-452-9470/ CO: Coal Industry Health Protection Coalition ST: Kentucky IN: HEA, MNG SU:


MK-MH -- DC024 -- 7969 02/07/92 17:30 EST
COPYRIGHT 1992 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 7, 1992
Words:510
Previous Article:SENATE ELIMINATES NATURAL GAS IMPORT RESTRICTIONS FROM ENERGY BILL
Next Article:POTASH CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN INC. TO BE EXCLUSIVE SALES AGENT FOR HORIZON POTASH CORP.
Topics:


Related Articles
TRUMKA: 'THE PROMISE HAS BEEN KEPT'; COAL FIELD HEALTH CARE CRISIS ENDS
AMERICAN AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION COMMENTS ON NATIONAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEM
United Mine Workers of America Officers Schedule Series of Nationwide Meetings To Highlight Crisis With The 1992 Coal Act And Launch UMWA's 'Keep The...
United Mine Workers of America Endorses Al Gore for President.
Hundreds Rally in Bethlehem, Pa. to Save American Steel Industry; Urge Quick Government Action.
SEANC's Cope Calls for Meeting With Governor; Says 'Hands Off' Retirement Funds.
PACE International Union Objects to BP's Proposal to Change Retiree Medical Plan.
Uncertain prognosis; Containing health care costs a major challenge.
AARP Urges Idaho Senators Not to be the Grinches That Stole Health Care Reform.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters