Summary: H.R.4389 — 95th Congress (1977-1978)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.4389. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (03/02/1977)

Black Lung Reform Act - Amends the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 to establish a rebuttable presumption that miners with 20 or more years of coal mine employment shall be entitled to receive benefits under provisions of the Act.

Stipulates that no claim for benefits shall be denied based on location or nature of employment.

Directs the Secretary of Labor to establish a program designed to locate and assist individuals who are likely to be eligible for benefits under this Act. Stipulates that individuals so informed shall be eligible to file a claim despite previous failure to file within the specified time frame.

Redefines the term "total disability" to prohibit use of the fact that a deceased miner was still a mine employee at the time of death as evidence that such miner was not totally disabled.

Requires that all claimants be given an opportunity for a complete medical examination by a physician of the claimant's own choice.

Establishes a Black Lung Disability Insurance Fund in the Treasury of the United States. Sets forth provisions governing administration of the Fund. States that amounts in the Fund shall be available for making expenditures to meet the obligations acquired by the Fund, including the expenses of providing medical benefits.

Amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 to impose an excise tax on coal, which amounts shall be appropriated to the fund established by this Act. Authorizes adjustments in the rates of taxation, subject to Congressional review.

Directs the Secretary of Labor to establish procedures for prompt action on claims. Increases the amount of the award for delays beyond the 60-day period established by this Act.

Directs the Department of Labor, in cooperation with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, to conduct a study of occupationally related pulmonary and respiratory diseases, and report on the results of such study to the President and the appropriate committees of Congress within 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act.

Revises duties of the Coal Mine Health Research Board to stipulate that recommendations of such board with respect to research projects shall be binding on the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.