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Republicans blasted for health credit plan

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WASHINGTON, Jun 19, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- USW President Leo Gerard and Democratic leaders were criticizing House Republicans Thursday for passing a rollback on federal health care credits.

At the center of the controversy is H.R. 1528, which would eliminate consumer protections from a federal Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) program benefiting half-a-million workers and retirees hurt by trade.

Gerard said, "The House Republicans are rolling back the Health Coverage Tax Credit program and denying hundreds of thousands Americans crucial consumer protections in obtaining health insurance. Passage of this bill is another Republican attack on American working families. The House Republicans never liked this program from the start, but they compromised last year to win approval of a trade bill that will ship millions of American jobs overseas."

The HCTC program provides a 65 percent health tax credit to trade-affected laid-off workers and 55 to 64 year-old retirees whose pensions were assumed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC)

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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