The trio is backed by Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and companion legislation has also been introduced at the House of Representatives by U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott of Virginia, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Frederica Wilson of Florida.
The group said the act will “level the playing field” for those miners battling black lung and seeking disability compensation for the condition.
Specifically, the proposal will give miners equal access to medical evidence as well as better access to legal resources. Additionally, those who have filed claims and seen them denied because of recently discovered discredited medical evidence will have a remedy with which to move forward.
Coal miners put themselves on the line underground to power our economy. For the miners who are suffering from black lung as a result, we need to uphold our end of the bargain,” Warner said on September 29. “These are commonsense steps we can take to make it a little easier for miners and their families to access appropriate medical care and compensation.”
Manchin noted that some miners over the years have not received the attention or care needed for their black lung disease and called it unacceptable in modern times.
“Since the 1930’s when President Franklin Roosevelt began investigating medical care in the coalfields, the federal government has been committed to the health and well-being of miners. President Roosevelt recognized that our miners mined the coal that produced the steel that built our nation and helped us win World War II,” he said. “We have upheld that commitment ever since and must continue to do so, which is why I am proud to sponsor this legislation with my colleagues. The very least we can do is make sure that all miners have access to quality medical care and legal counseling while ensuring that unfair practices do not delay or deny a miner their benefits.”
The act is the second collaboration for the three men; in July, they unveiled the Miners Protection Act to help ensure lifetime pensions and health benefits are honored for retired miners and their families.