WASHINGTON (AP) -- A retired coal miner who suffers from black lung disease urged Congress on Tuesday to help clear a backlog of claims of fellow miners who have the disease.
"I look to y'all to help us to get that which we need," Robert Bailey of Princeton, West Virginia told senators at a Capitol Hill hearing. "I would like to see that Congress step in and do make some changes to help process these claims" that are taking too long.
The Senate Health Committee's employment and workplace safety subcommittee held the hearing in response to a series by the Center for Public Integrity and ABC News on black lung benefits claims for miners. The yearlong investigation, which won a Pulitzer prize for the Center for Public Integrity, examined how doctors and lawyers, working at the behest of the coal industry, helped defeat the benefits claims of sick miners.
Black lung is an irreversible and potentially deadly disease caused by exposure to coal dust, where the dust particles accumulate in the lungs. According to the Labor Department, more than 76,000 miners have died at least in part because of the disease since 1968.
Bailey, who worked as a coal miner for 36
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