Black Lung Benefits Included in House Health Care Proposal

Mar 9, 2017

Two U.S. House committees have approved a Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act.  Critics of the law say it will raise premiums and cause millions to lose health coverage.

The House bill does, however, preserve an amendment written into the Affordable Care Act that makes it easier for coal miners with black lung disease to qualify for compensation benefits.

Basically, the ACA amendment shifts the burden of proving that coal mining caused the disease from the miners to the company. This makes it a whole lot easier, but not easy, for coal miners to qualify for the benefits. It also allows widows to continue receiving the benefits after the death of their spouse. More than 38,000 people are currently receiving black lung benefits.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.