Daily Inter Lake: Push to block health reform concerns asbestos victims

After Democratic Sen. Max Baucus’ hard-fought battle to include provisions for Libby asbestos victims in the federal health-reform law, many of those victims are worried a move by Montana’s congressman will pull the plug on their long-term care.

Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., who chairs the House budget subcommittee with jurisdiction over health-care spending, took the lead three weeks ago to defund federal health reform, introducing an amendment to a budget bill to block any spending this year on putting the new health-care law in place.

The amendment would block about $41 million in spending to implement the federal health-reform law through September when the government’s fiscal year ends.

Libby continues to deal with the aftermath of widespread death and disease prompted by toxic asbestos exposure form the former W.R. Grace & Co. vermiculite mine near Libby. More than 300 deaths have been linked to asbestos disease, and close to 3,000 patients with various stages of asbestos disease are being treated at the Center for Asbestos Related Disease in Libby.

Read the whole article >>