This is Anne and me in Wakarusa, Indiana. 2009.
April is the month I get my yearly physical.
First of all, the results are pretty good for a guy who turns 70 next year. I don’t turn 69 until June, but I like saying, “I turn 70 next year.”
I go to the gym regularly. I try to watch any up-tick in my weight. I have to control my blood pressure with some meds. But all-in-all, the doctor and I were satisfied with the results.
The health insurance system works pretty well for me.
I am insured through a combination of Medicare and the retired teacher’s state health care system. It is not free. I pay a premium for insurance which is subsidized by payments from the state. I helped support the subsidy to retirees by payments I made when I was an active teacher.
Like my pension, that was the deal made when I started teaching 35 years ago.
Now Governor Rauner is threatening to end the state subsidy.
Teachers’ Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP) is composed of two insurance programs: Standard TRIP and TRAIL. Standard TRIP is the health insurance for those retirees under 65 years old and those retirees who are not Medicare eligible.
The February breakdown from Central Management Systems (CMS) of funding sources for TRIP are as follows:
Active Teachers 24.5%
School Districts 18.4%
State of Illinois 22.9%
IF the governor’s budget were to be adopted with the TRIP line zeroed out, then retiree-participants would have to bear the increased cost or drop out of TRIP and go to the public marketplace for insurance coverage.
Breaking a promise made to me when I began teaching would cause my slightly elevated current blood pressure to rise even more.
To the trolls who will surely want write and tell me how unfair it is that Illinois’s teachers have it so good: Don’t bother.
Nobody is more aware than I am that it could be worse. And it is worse for many, even with the Affordable Care Act that the Repugs are again trying to do away with.
Take the case of the retired mine workers who will lose their health coverage later this month if Congress doesn’t act.
Donald J. Trump made coal miners a central metaphor of his presidential campaign, promising to “put our miners back to work” and look after their interests in a way that the Obama administration did not.
Now, three months into his presidency, comes a test of that promise.
Unless Congress intervenes by late April, government-funded health benefits will abruptly lapse for more than 20,000 retired miners, concentrated in Trump states that include Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Many of the miners have serious health problems arising from their years in the mines.
In mining areas like Uniontown, Pa., and surrounding Fayette and Greene Counties, which Mr. Trump carried 2 to 1, it is an upsetting and potentially costly prospect. “It’s just a terrible, terrible feeling,” said one of the retirees, David VanSickle, who spent four decades at work in the mines. “I think about that 25 times a day.”
The president has offered no public comment on the issue, even as he has rolled back regulations on mine operators, an omission that has not escaped the notice of Mr. VanSickle and other retired miners.
“To me, that was kind of a promise he did make to us,” Mr. VanSickle said about Mr. Trump, whom he supported last fall. “He promised to help miners, not just mining companies.”
Yes. They voted for Trump. But I take no satisfaction in saying that they were foolish to believe him.
In a society that thinks of itself as democratic and humane, where affordable healthcare and quality public education should be a right, it is crazy that we are still fighting for both.