Posted: Apr 10, 2013 8:46 PM by MTN News
WASHINGTON, DC - Victims of asbestos exposure in northwest Montana will be soon be seeing quicker settlements in Libby and Lincoln County.
Senator Max Baucus called the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Marilyn Tavenner, before his committee on Tuesday and says he has her personal commitment to address the backlog.
The Democrat says in a news release that more than 150 Montanans are waiting on information from CMS that is necessary before they can finalize their settlements. Tavenner said Tuesday that she expects most of the cases to be resolved by the end of this month.
"There've been so many levels of injustice in Libby, Montana, and this backlog shouldn't be one of them. I want you to tell me what you are going to do to speed up the process so that people there who have suffered from asbestos-related diseases can get the settlements they deserve," Baucus said.
Tavenner responded by saying that she is aware of at least 100 cases that will be complete by the end of this month, and gave Baucus her personal commitment to get them all done.
"You've got my commitment that I'll stay on top of it going forward," she said.
Hundreds of area residents have died from disease related to the vermiculite mining operations that closed in the 1990s.
W.R. Grace, which owned the mine when it closed, and its company officials were tried on criminal charges in U.S. District Court in Missoula in 2009, but a jury acquitted them after a trial that lasted for several months.