Republican Senators have put forward legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that would preserve existing benefits for coal miners suffering from black lung.
Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La) and Susan Collins (R-Me) have submitted the Patient Freedom Act, an Obamacare replacement that preserves many of the “popular” components of the ACA. Coal miners in states like West Virginia and Ohio had feared a repeal of the ACA would spell an end to their insurance benefits for black lung, and make it harder to apply for said benefits.
[Cassidy-Collins would preserve] Obamacare’s protection of coverage for pre-existing conditions, its ban on lifetime and annual limits for benefits, and coverage of certain preventive services without co-pays. It also keeps coverage of mental health services and guarantees black-lung benefits for coal miners. The federal exchange, healthcare.gov, will continue to operate. Dependents still will be permitted to stay on their parents’ employer-sponsored plans until age 26. The measure kills the employer mandate and individual mandate, though it substitutes a “continuous coverage” system for the latter, which we’ll explain in a bit.