July 7, 1975

Black Lung Benefits Reform Act

Author Affiliations

West Virginia University Medical Center Morgantown

JAMA. 1975;233(1):21-22. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03260010023005

To the Editor.—  The House Sub-Committee on Labor has recently been holding hearings on a bill HR 8, which is also known as the Black Lung Benefits Reform Act of 1975.I wish to call attention to certain proposals in this bill that are grossly unfair to the non-coal-mining working population and to the consumer.Were this bill to become law, any respiratory impairment that develops in a man who has worked for 25 years in a coal mine would be assumed to be due to his occupation. Such a presumption could only be rebutted on the basis of a blood gas test. After 35 years, the presumption of disability would become irrebuttable, and every miner who had worked for this period would be able to retire on "disability." The fact that there is no medical basis whatsoever for such a presumption is well known to those who are familiar with