Robert Bailey mined a coal mine in West Virginia for 36 years, but said he had to stop because he couldn't breathe.
With his portable oxygen tank by his side, Bailey told a panel, chaired by Pa. Sen. Bob Casey, that his black lung disease has gotten more aggressive.
During the panel, the U.S. Labor Department announced that it would add two administrative law judges and even bring back a retired judge to help all the claims in Pittsburgh.
Our news partners at the Tribune-Review report that there’s a 14,000-case backlog of black lung cases.
“We want to make sure people are aware of this issues. Miners shouldn’t have to fight to get basic justice,” said Casey.
Bailey has been recommended for a lung transplant, but he said his former employer won't pay for it.
Casey plans to introduce legislation this fall that would help miners get quicker access to health care.