My 39th State Representative Will Guzzardi.
There was Jeri Shanahan’s name on my iPhone when it rang yesterday.
If you read this blog you know Jeri.
She is the retired teacher who retired too long ago to qualify for Medicare.
Here is what I wrote in August.
Ms Shanahan is a retired Illinois teacher who is not Medicare eligible. According to the law she doesn’t qualify for Medicare because she retired too many years ago.
If she moved to Arizona or Florida she would pay half of what she pays for health insurance. She chooses to remain in Illinois, so she gets socked.
A bill was introduced in the Illinois legislature to address this situation that impacts maybe 500 retired very elderly teachers.
Ms Shanahan told me the bill failed. It had either the opposition or no support by the IFT and the IEA. Ms Shanahan wasn’t sure and I couldn’t find out.
The position of the IEA and other organizations that represent teacher retirees seems to be that since this is only an issue that impacts less than 500 teachers in the state, they have to be concerned with the majority.
“What if I said that about my students when I was teaching?” Ms Shanahan said to me on the phone yesterday. “What if I said I could only be concerned with the majority of students and not with the ones with special needs?”
“Good point,” I said.
Last August I sent my post and a Trib article about the issue to my state representative, Will Guzzardi. He wrote me back saying he would sign on to legislation in the coming session.
“I talked with Will’s office,” Ms Shanahan told me. “They were so polite. They listened to everything I said and promised to work on it.”
She called him “Will. ” I know Guzzardi genuinely likes that.
Anyway. Ms Shanahan was just checking in.
But we spoke frankly about what is really happening here. The numbers of those in her situation are declining through attrition. That’s a polite way of saying they are dying.
That’s what the union leadership is saying when they talk about the needs of the majority.
One IEA Retired leader reacted by telling Ms Shanahan to go get a job to meet the required quarters to qualify for Medicare. I’m not going to ask Jeri Shanahan’s age. But trust me. She’s not getting a job.
There were 600 retired teachers affected when I first heard from Jeri Shanahan about this.
There are less than 500 now.
It’s a waiting game when it comes to old folks.
We don’t last forever.