By staff writers

June 12, 2018 -- The U.S. government's program to assist coal miners who are diagnosed with black lung disease is running low on cash, according to an article published by CNN.

The government's Black Lung Disability Trust Fund is "beset by billions of dollars in debt," and the shortfall could result in miners losing their benefits, according to the June 4 article. CNN said that some 14,000 miners rely on the program to pay medical bills when they are too sick to work.

The fund is supposed to be paid for by a tax on coal companies, but there has never been enough money throughout the fund's 40-year history, and the remainder has to be paid for by taxpayers. The fund borrowed $1.3 billion from the U.S. Department of the Treasury last year, the article noted.

What's more, a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that by 2050, the fund may need to borrow as much as $15 billion to remain solvent. The GAO said there are several possible solutions to the deficit, including increasing the tax on coal companies or forgiving debt owed to taxpayers.

Copyright © 2018

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