Sept. 30, 2015: This story has been updated.
Members of Congress on Tuesday proposed what they called “sweeping reforms” in the federal black lung benefits program, citing a 2013 investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and ABC News.
That project, “Breathless and Burdened,” revealed how doctors and lawyers, working at the behest of the coal industry, helped deny meager benefits and medical care to miners suffering from black lung. It led to the immediate suspension of the black lung program at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions as well as policy changes within the U.S. Department of Labor.
In a news release Tuesday, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and other lawmakers said they had introduced legislation to “level the playing field” for sick miners. Among other things, the Black Lung Benefits Act of 2015 would help miners review and rebut “potentially biased or inaccurate medical evidence developed by coal companies” and allow them to reopen cases if benefits had been denied on the basis of discredited medical opinions, the release said.