The 22,000 retired miners and widows whose medical coverage was set to expire this week – after yet another extension… can be at ease knowing there is now a permanent solution.
Congressman Evan Jenkins, (R)- WV, told us, “Well now the federal government is stepping up to the plate, and an agreement has been reached to make sure that our retirees and their widows will not lose their health benefits.”
The bipartisan bill to fund these health-care benefits is included in a $1 trillion dollar budget deal made by Congress.
Senator Joe Manchin, said, “These miners earned it, they worked for it, they paid for it, they negotiated for it, they left money into the system in order to pay for their retirement. They didn’t take money home for their families to be spent or used, and now all of a sudden, they’re going to say ‘You don’t have it anymore’? We made sure that didn’t happen.”
And they worked hand-in-hand with members of the United Mine Workers of America to urge all lawmakers to protect these benefits which they believe is a government obligation.
Here in West Virginia, the union-controlled United Mine Workers of America covers pensions and medical benefits for more than 10,000 retired miners and their spouses.
Many of the retired miners have worked 20, 30 or even 40 years mining coal, and are injured or suffer from incurable diseases, such as Black Lung. A large number are not old enough to qualify for medicare, and those that do, cannot afford it.
Joe Reynolds, a member of UMWA & a Retired Miner, expressed, “People that have worked for, paid into it, paid taxes all their lives.. They deserve a reward. the little man, the working man, that’s what built this nation.”
President Trump is expected to sign this bill by the end of this week.