After months of political maneuvering and arm-twisting, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) finally persuaded his fellow lawmakers to rescue the nearly depleted United Mine Workers of America retirement funds. Unveiled on July 29, Rockefeller's bill safeguards current and future health benefits for the nation's 118,000 retired coal miners and their dependents. It's expected to clear the House and Senate easily. The new accord will force companies to cover retirees they had stopped insuring. Annual interest of $70 million from federal trust funds will help pay retiree medical bills.

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