During the presidential election of 2016 one of the most contentious issues of the campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was that of health care. Trump wanted to do away with former President Barack Obama’s signature legislation, The Affordable Care Act, while Clinton wanted to strengthen the program. Now that Trump has been sworn in as the 45th President of the United States some of his supporters are having second thoughts after they realized that the legislation Trump wishes to remove was helping them and Trump is offering them no alternatives. This is particularly true of those in the coal mining industry who overwhelmingly supported Trump because Trump promised to put them back to work. Instead, Trump has cut their benefits and many are still unemployed.
Over a month into his presidency and Trump has not yet delivered on his campaign promise. He has not reopened a single coal mine, but he has moved to slash the health benefits of coal miners which hurts not only them, but their families as well. According to the Department of Labor:
The first amendment mandates a presumption of total disability or death caused by pneumoconiosis for coal miners who worked for at least 15 years in underground (or comparable surface) mining and who suffer or suffered from a totally disabling respiratory impairment. The second amendment provides automatic entitlement for eligible survivors of miners who were themselves entitled to receive benefits as a result of a lifetime claim.
The re-instated amendments are 30 United States Code 921(c)(4) and 30 U.S.C. 932(l); and they are contained in Section 1556 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and apply to claims filed after Jan. 1, 2005, that are pending on or after March 23, 2010.
The final rule addresses the automatic entitlement of certain survivors and the 15-year entitlement presumption as it applies to miners’ and their survivors’ claims. In addition, the rule eliminates several unnecessary or obsolete provisions in accordance with Executive Order 13563.
If President Trump and his Republican cohorts have their way there will be no protections left for coal miners who find themselves in ill health due to their professions. Such a tragedy would not have happened under a Hillary Clinton presidency, but it is too late for individuals to change their vote.