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UMWA Funds Receive $200 million for Prescription Drug Demonstration Program

date: 
September 15, 2005

Federal demonstration program funding helps keep retiree health care benefits intact

United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil E. Roberts announced today that the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds will receive over $200 million in federal funds to extend a Prescription Drug Demonstration Program for UMWA retirees and widows. The funding will extend the demonstration program through the end of September, 2007.

"The Demonstration Program is a critical component of the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds' continuing effort to provide the best possible benefits to UMWA retirees and widows," said Roberts. "There are over 55,000 beneficiaries across America who are covered by the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds and who will be helped tremendously by the extension of this demonstration.

"This extension means that the Combined Benefit Fund will have the cash it needs to keep benefits on an even keel for the next two years," Roberts said. "It will also mean that the 1993 Benefit Plan will be able to maintain current levels of benefits through the middle of next year.

"We are very thankful to those in Congress and the Administration who helped get this extension through," Roberts said. "They have taken another step in living up to the federal government's promise of health care to miners and their families, and we appreciate that very much.

"I also want to thank the members of the UMWA Pensioner Leadership Committee and all the rank-and-file members and retirees who contacted their members of Congress and the Administration, urging them to live up to the government's promise. It once again demonstrates that when we speak with one strong voice, the politicians listen."

Roberts pointed out that there is more to do in this fight. "Though this action is very welcome, it is not the complete solution to funding for retired miners' and widows' health care that is needed," he said. "It's a stop-gap measure that buys Congress more time to reach a permanent solution that fulfills America's promise to its coal miners."

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