Portman Helps Secure Permanent Solution to Protect Ohio Miners’ Health Care Benefits

May 1, 2017 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced today that the bipartisan agreement to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year includes a permanent fix for 22,000 miners who were set to lose their health care:

With most of Ohio’s power coming from coal, our miners keep the lights on for us,” Portman said.These miners worked hard, played by the rules, and were promised these health care benefits, which—without this agreement—they would lose. This bipartisan agreement gives them the health care benefits they have earned, and peace of mind to their families. That is a victory for our miners and for Ohio.”

NOTE: Multiple bankruptcies in 2012 and 2015 endangered the health care benefits of approximately 22,000 retired miners and dependents in the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) 1974 Pension Plan. Without swift action from Congress, all 22,000 would have lost their health care, including 332 from Ohio. The budget agreement announced today contains language from the health portion of the Miners Protection Act, a bill Senator Portman has helped advance in the Senate Finance Committee to ensure that these miners never have their health care benefits interrupted. Portman has sponsored this bipartisan legislation since 2015, and urged his colleagues on the Finance Committee just last week to support a permanent health care fix.

Preventing these miners from losing their health care builds on a promise Congress made in 2006 to supplement the UMWA retiree health care benefits with Abandoned Mine Land (AML) funds. The additional miners’ health care spending in the bill is fully offset.