STEUBENVILLE — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said Monday he is increasingly hopeful a permanent health care plan for retired coal miners and their widows can be approved before the end of April.
“I am more optimistic than I was before, but I can’t promise anything yet. Congress needs to do their job. Elected officials don’t have to worry about losing their insurance and they should not take away health insurance from coal miners. A majority of the Congress supports the coal miners health care, but the problem is getting the Republican leadership to schedule a vote and get this thing done the right way,” Brown told a roundtable group of coal miners gathered at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union hall in Steubenville.
“Every month, coal miners are getting a notice in the mail saying their health care will expire. The health care for coal miners was made by President Harry Truman, but I think this is something the non-union coal operators don’t want because they don’t like the union coal miners,” Brown asserted.
“We are working on a permanent health care fix, and there is a very good chance we can see that passed by the end of April as part of a larger bill. But we must continue the lobbying efforts,” Brown added.
Dave Dilly, a retired coal miner from Coshocton, Ohio, said he has been participating in lobbying efforts and rallies in Washington, D.C.
“We were promised health care. We keep our promises and we want the Congress to keep their promise. Brown has been very passionate about this issue and now it is time to turn our focus on Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and President (Donald) Trump,” Dilly said.
“The lobbyists in Washington all have their black suits and black ties. But we are real people and we are coal miners. People enjoy flipping the switch to turn their lights on and now they get to meet the people who make that possible,” Dilly added.
“My grandfather came home from World War I and went into the mines. He died in 1955 from black lung,” cited George Shultz.
For approximately 90 minutes, Brown listened to story after story from the retired coal miners or their spouses.
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