U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has introduced a bill to extend the improved Health Coverage Tax Credit, or HCTC, for another 18 months to help retirees or workers who have lost their jobs to foreign trade buy health coverage.

A six-week extension that Brown and U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan, D-Niles, won in late December expires Saturday. The extension continued the 80 percent tax credit that began in 2009 as part of the Recovery Act. Without the extension, the credit will revert to 65 percent.

Brown said he's heard of hundreds of Delphi Packard Electric retirees who are still struggling after losing their pensions and health care benefits in the auto parts maker's exit from bankruptcy in 2009. Without the tax credit, many trade-affected workers and retirees might not be able to afford health coverage, he said.

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