WASHINGTON, D.C. — In response to reports that the U.S. House of Representatives’ tax proposal would not extend the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) – a critical lifeline to help retired United Steelworkers and Delphi salaried retirees struggling to maintain affordable healthcare – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) issued the following statement:

“It’s unfathomable that House Republicans would seek tax breaks for big businesses while cutting off a critical lifeline to Delphi retirees who need to pay their health care bills. The Health Coverage Tax Credit has strong bipartisan support in the Senate because it is so important to more than 20,000 Delphi salaried retirees. We must reach a balanced tax deal that provides these working families with the same fair shake and certainty we give businesses.”

As a result of House inaction, the HCTC expired at the end of 2013. The HCTC helps trade-affected workers; select groups of retirees, like Delphi salaried retirees; and their families purchase private health coverage to replace the employer-sponsored coverage they lost. It makes health insurance more affordable by providing a 72.5 percent tax credit to eligible workers, allowing these workers to pay only a portion of their qualified health insurance. Often the HCTC serves as an important bridge for Americans until they become eligible for Medicare benefits.

A provision authored by Brown and cosponsored by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) to extend HCTC was passed by the Senate Finance Committee during consideration of a tax extenders passage in April 2014. The amendment would extend the tax credit at its current rate of 72.5 percent for an additional two years. This extension would keep health care affordable for hardworking individuals who might otherwise not be insured through 2016. Last month, Brown and Portman called on Senate leaders to maintain an extension of the HCTC in the tax extenders package