Turner seeks to make Delphi retiree health coverage permanent

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner is joining a congressman from Maine in urging congressional leaders to make permanent the Health Coverage Tax Credit on which Delphi salaried retirees depend

“We represent working people who have been left without affordable health insurance since Congress allowed the program to expire at the beginning of the year,” wrote Turner, R-Dayton, and Jared Golden, D-Maine. “The HCTC (Health Care Tax Credit) provides refundable tax credits to retirees whose pensions have been taken over by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC).”

The credit provides refundable tax credits to cover more than 70% of the cost of health insurance premiums for two kinds of workers: those who have been certified to have lost their jobs due to outsourcing, and eligible retirees whose pensions have been taken over by the PBGC, Turner’s office said.

The PBGC took over the pensions of Delphi salaried retirees in 2009 after the former Dayton auto parts manufacturer sought bankruptcy protection four years earlier.

Most Delphi salaried retirees saw their pensions diminished greatly when the PBGC assumed control of the pensions, reduced by up to 70% in some cases, while General Motors — which owned Delphi before spinning it off in 1999 — continued to support the pensions of hourly, union-represented Delphi workers.

“Since its inception in 2002, this program has been reauthorized seven times — providing much-needed benefits to workers in such positions,” Turner and Golden also said. “These people worked hard their whole lives and don’t deserve the uncertainty and stress of relying on a program that could expire every year or two. That’s why we must ensure that a permanent reauthorization is included in any end-of-year tax extenders legislation.”

Also signing the letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy were Reps Victoria Spartz, R-Indiana, and Daniel Kildee, D-Mich.

The letter text can be found here.

In July, the House approved the Susan Muffley Act in a bipartisan 254-to-175 vote. That bill, which would have restored the salaried retirees’ full pensions, stalled in the Senate after an Idaho senator objected this summer.

Turner’s office said he is now working with colleagues in a bipartisan, bicameral effort to have Congress send the legislation to President Biden, who has said he will sign it into law.

There is cautious optimism that the bill will still go forward.

Tom Rose, a Delphi salaried retiree and Washington Twp. resident, said there is hope that the legislation will be attached to an upcoming omnibus bill.

“Our 13 ½-year battle is hopefully coming to a successful conclusion in a few weeks,” Rose told the Dayton Daily News in an email.

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