Senators Call on House Leadership to Include HCTC into Omnibus Package

Without Inclusion, the Health Care Tax Credit – Which Helps Delphi Salaried Retirees Afford Critical Health Care Coverage – Will Expire

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) called on House leadership to include the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) into omnibus legislation scheduled to be taken up during the remaining weeks of Congressional session. HCTC serves as a critical lifeline to help retired United Steelworkers and Delphi salaried retirees struggling to maintain affordable healthcare.

“Across the country, the HCTC helps tens of thousands of struggling families pay their health bills,” the Senators said in their letter. “These families include thousands of Delphi retirees whose pensions were terminated during the GM rescue and subsequently turned over to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. As you know well, the 20,000 Delphi salaried retirees lost up to 70 percent of their pensions. Without the HCTC, which expired on January 1, 2014, these salaried retirees face financial hardship with up to 50 percent of their remaining pension going to fund their health care premiums. We urge you to include a two year extension of the HCTC in the funding bill that clears the House before Congress adjourns.”

As a result of House inaction, the HCTC expired at the end of 2013. The HCTC helps trade-affected workers; select groups of retirees who have lost their pensions through no fault of their own, 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.

The letter to Speaker John Boehner and Leader Nancy Pelosi can be seen below:

The Honorable John Boehner                        The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House                                     Minority Leader

U.S. House of Representatives                       U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515                                Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Boehner, Leader Pelosi:

We wish to affirm our strong support for including an extension of the Health Coverage Tax Credit in the omnibus legislation the House is set to take up during this lame duck session of Congress.  As you know, proposals to extend the HCTC have received bipartisan support in the Senate.

Across the country, the HCTC helps tens of thousands of struggling families pay their health bills.  These families include thousands of Delphi retirees whose pensions were terminated during the GM rescue and subsequently turned over to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation.  As you know well, the 20,000 Delphi salaried retirees lost up to 70 percent of their pensions. Without the HCTC, which expired on January 1, 2014, these salaried retirees face financial hardship with up to 50 percent of their remaining pension going to fund their health care premiums. The Delphi salaried retirees have spent all of this year paying for health care out of their own modest income. If Congress fails to act, the pensions of these retirees will not be made whole when they file their 2014 returns. This is an issue that cannot wait. We urge you to include a two year extension of the HCTC in the funding bill that clears the House before Congress adjourns.

Thank you for your attention to this important issue.

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Press Contact

Meghan Dubyak/Ben Famous (Brown): (202) 224-3978