Ohio Lawmakers Push Extension of Health Tax Credit Important to Delphi, USW Retirees

Mar 10, 2014 Issues: Health Care

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), members of the Senate Committee on Finance, along with U.S. Reps. Mike Turner (R-OH) and Tim Ryan (D-OH) led a letter signed by 28 lawmakers to Congressional leaders pushing for the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) to be extended, an issue of particular importance to retired United Steelworkers and Delphi salaried retirees struggling to maintain affordable healthcare.

Today’s letter was also signed by Ohio Reps. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Dave Joyce (R-OH) and Steve Stivers (R-OH). It calls for the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee to attach the HCTC to any bill reported out of these committees. The HCTC, which assists struggling Americans with their health bills, expired on January 1, 2014.

“Without the HCTC, which expired on January 1, 2014, these salaried retirees face financial hardship with up to 50 percent of their remaining pension going to fund their health care premiums,” the lawmakers wrote. “Given the importance of the HCTC to these American families who have already lost so much, we urge that an extension of this valuable program be included in any bill reported out of your respective committees.”

This letter follows a December Finance Committee hearing where Portman and Brown introduced a bipartisan amendment to extend the HCTC for two years. After debate on the Portman-Brown amendment, the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee committed to work toward extending the HCTC, which was the first such commitment from Senate leaders.

The HCTC is a vital tool for many Americans who have experienced job loss and receive Trade Adjustment Assistance or have had their defined benefit pension plans taken over by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), such as thousands of Delphi salaried retirees in Ohio along with many retired United Steelworkers. Often the HCTC serves as an important bridge for Americans until they become eligible for Medicare benefits.

When Delphi’s defined benefit pension plan was terminated, 20,000 Delphi salaried retirees lost up to 70 percent in benefits, including 5,000 Ohioans. Of the 5,000 Delphi salaried retirees and their families in Ohio, about 1,500 are in the Mahoning Valley, 2,000 are in the Dayton area, and a majority of the remaining 1,500 are in Columbus and Sandusky.

The full text of the letter is below.

Today’s letter:

March 10, 2014

Chairman Dave Camp Chairman Ron Wyden
Committee on Ways and Means Committee on Finance
U.S. House of Representatives U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20515 Washington, D.C. 20510

Representative Sander Levin Senator Orrin Hatch
Ranking Member Ranking Member
Committee on Ways and Means Committee on Finance
U.S. House of Representatives U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20515 Washington, D.C. 20510


Dear Chairmen Camp and Wyden and Ranking Members Levin and Hatch:

Thousands of families rely on the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC), which helps some struggling American families pay their health bills. These families include thousands of Delphi retirees whose pensions were terminated during the GM bankruptcy and subsequently turned over to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. While the benefits of many Delphi retirees were restored, the 20,000 Delphi salaried retirees lost up to 70 percent of their pensions. Without the HCTC, which expired on January 1, 2014, these salaried retirees face financial hardship with up to 50 percent of their remaining pension going to fund their health care premiums.

Given the importance of the HCTC to these American families who have already lost so much, we urge that an extension of this valuable program be included in any bill reported out of your respective committees.

Thank you for your attention to this important issue.