The post had a profound effect on me. I thought about the promises made to me and my fellow public education employees--teachers, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, school nurses, librarians, classroom aides, secretaries, administrators, social workers, maintenance workers, police officers, sign-language interpreters--throughout our careers, the promise of a decent pension (because most of us will not receive any social security) and affordable healthcare. I also thought about my drive to Austin in 2013 to meet with a Teacher Retirement System of Texas representative before making my decision to retire. I made my decision based on a promise--a CONTRACT--that I could budget my finances according to my pension AND that I could afford my healthcare.
Look at us now. The largest percentage of TRS members, 32 percent, only earn $1 - $1,000 a month!!! How in the world can ANYONE making $1,000 a month afford a $1500 ($3000 if he/she is married) deductible that requires him/her to pay 100 PERCENT OUT OF POCKET on all doctors' visits, exams, AND prescriptions (except for a list of standard, generic drugs)??
This healthcare nightmare began for us in January of 2018 following the 2017 Texas Legislative Session when the Texas Legislature appropriated DOUBLE the amount of money to ERS (Employees Retirement System of Texas, a retirement system for all OTHER state employees AND our legislators) that they gave to TRS, even though ERS has HALF the number of members. In addition, the Texas Legislature also let ERS members keep their $0 monthly healthcare premium (ours is $200 and will go up over the next four years until it is $370 per month), their $0 healthcare deductible, AND their $50 prescription deductible. In case you're keeping score, that's ERS $0 vs. TRS $200, ERS $0 vs. TRS $1500 (or, for married couples, $3000), and ERS $50 vs. TRS $1500/$3000.
I realized when I read Adrienne's post that this is a REAL PERSON! I reached out to her to see if she would mind if I shared her post, and she decided to write her entire post-2017-Legislative-Session healthcare story!
If you search through my blog, you will see hers is my first GUEST BLOG. Why? Because these stories need to be told so people throughout Texas and throughout our country will understand what was promised and how those promises have been broken in the most shameful ways.
Adrienne--thank you for your bravery. It takes courage to share intimate details about our health and about our personal lives. It is your courage and the courage of so many others (Christy Curtis Reynolds, Judi Burroughs Thomas, Valerie Babbitt, Pam Thompson, Cindy Madison, and Blanca Benavidez Seeds, to name just a few) that have inspired ME to be RELENTLESS in this fight to have PROMISES MADE TO US KEPT!
Here is Adrienne's story: