ed flagFRANKFORT, Ky. (6/4/13) – U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield (KY-01), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, has released a discussion draft of legislation that would ensure continued health care coverage for miners in danger of losing their benefits resulting from the bankruptcy of Patriot Coal Company. A discussion draft serves as an informal starting point for introducing a bill in the House of Representatives.
 
“It is critical that we protect the health care benefits of the thousands of Kentucky miners who have worked hard their entire careers to earn those benefits,” stated Whitfield. “That is why I am considering legislative options to ensure that the hardworking miners who took to the mines day in and day out don’t lose the health care that they have rightfully earned.”
 
The Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection that Patriot filed in July 2012 may impact the health care benefits of roughly 1,500 people and their families in Whitfield’s district. They claim that they will not be able to emerge from bankruptcy without significant changes to retiree health care obligations. As a result, a bankruptcy court recently ruled that Patriot Coal is authorized to transition retirees into a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA).
 
Since it is expected that the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) will appeal the court’s ruling, there is uncertainty regarding the solvency and availability of the VEBA. Whitfield’s legislation addresses this issue by making miners in danger of losing their health care benefits due to Patriot Coal’s bankruptcy eligible for UMWA’s 1993 Benefit Plan.
 
Whitfield acknowledges that there are challenges with retirees’ pensions, but the most immediate concern is the availability of heath care benefits, which is why he is taking this immediate step.
 
“Protecting the health care benefits is just the first step in what may very well amount to a multifaceted process,” concluded Whitfield.
 
SurfKY News
Information provided by Chris Pack

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

In Other News...

Former Webster Coach Hart Headed into KABC Court of Honor

WINCHESTER, Ky. (2/26/15) — Former Webster County High School head coach Bev Hart is among the boys' coaches who will… Read More

Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce Announces New President and CEO

OWENSBORO, Ky. (2/26/15) — Following a national search, the Board of Directors of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of… Read More

Most Read This Week

February 21, 2015 6431

Traffic Advisory for Western Kentucky

in Top News For All Sites by KTC
February 25, 2015 5589

New Asian Restaurant Coming to Madisonville

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
February 24, 2015 5405

Two Charged in Central City Meth Bust

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
February 25, 2015 5392

Multi-Agency Investigation Nets Large-Scale Meth…

in Top News For All Sites by Trooper Stu Recke
February 22, 2015 5212

Easter Cuties Pageant in Memory of Shanice Bean

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
February 21, 2015 4907

Local Administrators Warn Employees to Watch for…

in Top News For All Sites by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

February 12, 2015

UPDATE: Name of Pennyrile Fatality Officially…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 28, 2015

UPDATED: Several Involved in Two-Vehicle Accident

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

February 26, 2015 2219

Woman Charged for Allegedly Selling Hydrocodone

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
February 26, 2015 2107

Man Accused of Holding Woman against Will,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
February 26, 2015 1359

Probation and Parole Violators - February 26,…

in Video by Crime Stoppers
February 26, 2015 1211

Hopkins County Health Department Food Scores Thru…

in Hopkins News by Barry Franklin
February 26, 2015 1086

Area College Students Touched by Cancer are…

in Top News For All Sites by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
February 26, 2015 1062

Walmart Evacuated after Customer Alerts 911 of…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
February 26, 2015 1010

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Feb. 26, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
February 26, 2015 895

Super Sunday Hall of Fame Alumni Honored College…

in Top News For All Sites by Joyce Riggs
February 26, 2015 802

Lions Man, Woman of Year Announced

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Chris Findley
February 26, 2015 571

Man Charged with Meth Possession after Traffic…

in Local (Henderson) Top News by Courtney Millikan