SPONSORED:

Dems seek to strengthen black lung benefits program

Senior Democrats in the House and Senate are seeking to prevent coal companies from withholding key pieces of medical evidence during evaluation of health claims by miners. 

A bill introduced Thursday would take several steps to ease access to evidence, including requiring full disclosure of medical information related to a claim.

The measure makes further changes to the federal black lung benefits program by tying assistance increases to the cost of the living and providing some attorney fees. 

ADVERTISEMENT
"Thousands of miners are sick and dying from black lung, yet coal companies are still doing everything in their power to exploit legal loopholes that can prevent miners and their families from getting the benefits they deserve," said the group of 12 Democratic bill sponsors.

"Our legislation aims to right that wrong by helping miners obtain unbiased medical evidence, adequate representation, and up-to-date benefit payments," the group said in a written statement.

The federal black lung benefits program, administered by the Department of Labor, provides monthly payments and health benefits to coal miners disabled by black lung disease due to their work.

Democratic lawmakers from mining regions want to strengthen the program following media reports and hearings that found coal companies withholding key medical evidence in order to reduce benefits paid.

The bill was sponsored by Sens. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyA historic moment to truly honor mothers Democrats face big headaches on Biden's T spending plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP makes infrastructure play; Senate passes Asian hate crimes bill MORE Jr. (D-Pa.), Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerBottom Line World Health Day: It's time to fight preventable disease Lobbying World MORE (D-W.Va.), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinIs the Constitution in the way of DC statehood? Biden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure Joe Manchin is wrong — D.C. statehood is constitutional MORE (D-W.Va.), Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerBiden signs executive order to improve federal cybersecurity Overnight Defense: Former Pentagon chief to testify about Capitol riot Wednesday | Senate Intelligence chairman wants Biden to review US Space Command move Wyden: Funding infrastructure with gas tax hike a 'big mistake' MORE (D-Va.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenate Democrats offer bill to scrap tax break for investment managers Wyden: Funding infrastructure with gas tax hike a 'big mistake' Sherrod Brown calls Rand Paul 'kind of a lunatic' for not wearing mask MORE (D-Ohio), Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineHow leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders On The Money: Incomes, consumer spending soared in March | Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package | Biden cancels some border wall construction MORE (D-Va.) and Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinWe need a voting rights workaround Romney's TRUST Act is a Trojan Horse to cut seniors' benefits Two more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers MORE (D-Iowa) along with Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottBiden's pre-K plan is a bipartisan opportunity to serve the nation's children Democrats target Trump methane rule with Congressional Review Act Senators eye rollback of Trump methane rule with Congressional Review Act MORE (D-Va.), Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), George Miller (D-Calif.) and Nick RahallNick Joe RahallOn The Trail: The political losers of 2020 We shouldn't allow politics to impede disaster relief Break the cycle of partisanship with infant, child health care programs MORE (D-W.Va.).

Republican Rep. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoEPA water nominee commits to 'enduring solutions' in confirmation hearing Biden meets for first time with 'Big Four' congressional leaders The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting MORE (W.Va.), who will replace Rockefeller in the Senate next year, has declined to take a position on the bill.