MANY COAL MINERS BACKED TRUMP, NOW THEY FEAR LOSING OBAMACARE’S PROTECTIONS FOR BLACK LUNG DISEASE

Last night, CNN aired a terrific segment on people from coal country who voted for Donald Trump — but are now worried that his vow to repeal Obamacare will deprive them of crucial protections that enable them to stay afloat financially.

This dovetails with other reporting that suggests a lot of Trump voters may be harmed by repeal of the law.

Which raises a question: Did voters such as these know they were voting for this? After all, Trump promised countless times throughout the campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act, didn’t he? If they are complaining about this now, don’t they have only themselves to blame?

No. I’m going to argue that, while Trump did repeatedly vow repeal, these voters were absolutely right to conclude that he would not leave them without the sort of federal protections they enjoy under Obamacare. That’s because Trump did, in fact, clearly signal to them that this would not happen.

The CNN segment features people who live in Eastern Kentucky coal country and backed Trump because he promised to bring back coal jobs.

Now, however, they worry that a provision in the ACA that makes it easier for longtime coal miners with black lung disease to get disability benefits could get eliminated along with the law.

That provision shifted the burden of proving that the disability was directly caused by work in the mines away from the victim. Those benefits include financial and medical benefits.

Some benefits now also extend to the widows of miners who had black lung disease — or pneumoconiosis, a lung illness associated with inhalation of coal dust — after their husbands die. Other reporting has also confirmed widespread coal country worries about losing these protections.

One man who worked in the mines for 35 years told CNN’s Miguel Marquez:

“When they eliminate the Obamacare, they may just eliminate all of the black lung program. It may all be gone. Don’t matter how many years you got.”

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