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Posted: Friday, 04 July 2014 7:26AM

Grimes: McConnell opposes black lung benefits



FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell is committed to the repeal of the federal Affordable Care Act — even though it includes provisions to help coal miners receive benefits for black lung disease.

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes criticized McConnell's position during a campaign swing through eastern Kentucky on Thursday. Grimes is trying to unseat McConnell in November.

Black lung is the common name for a disease caused by inhaling coal dust. State officials say more Kentucky miners are filing claims because more of them are out of work. Eastern Kentucky has lost 7,000 direct coal mining jobs since 2012.

McConnell has said he wants to replace the Affordable Care Act with "real reforms." A McConnell spokeswoman dismissed Grimes' criticism as trying to deceive Kentucky voters into believing she is pro-coal.

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