Editor, Arizona Daily Star:

RE: Good Health Coverage is Earned

But What Happens when it is Taken Away?

 

Dear Sir or Madam:

This letter is a follow-up to the letter from the retired teacher in Green Valley who wrote on January 29 that good coverage is “earned,” and therefore disagrees with Bush that some citizens have unnecessary “gold plated” healthcare insurance.

 

While it is wonderful that she is covered by great insurance in her retirement, some are not so fortunate.  I too worked for 30 years for the same company, and believed that as a result of my hard work and dedication to my employer that my wife and I would be secure in our retirement, since “gold plated,” subsidized health insurance was promised to us too when we retired.  We also thought after 30 years that we had earned it, after endless 12 hour days, and countless business trips separated from my family.  Plus since it was promised, it was an integral part of our financial plan when we retired.  However, I had the bad luck of retiring from Lucent Technologies instead of from a state payroll system.  When we retired, we paid nothing for our health insurance coverage.  We now pay $863 per month, $10,356 per year. That increase has caused unbelievable hardship for us.  Additionally, our pension has not been increased once in 9 years, and we are still several years away from being eligible for Medicare.  We are both back working, and have little time to travel back east to see our grandchildren.   In short, our retirement security has been sorely tested and jeopardized.

 

People who are fortunate, and blessed to have had the pure luck to work for the “correct” employer during their lives, might be a little more open minded about what is happening to the many others of us who through no fault of our own have not experienced the same good fortune.  The time is right for this country to finally come to grips with the issue of universal healthcare.  Affordable healthcare is a right, not a privilege of having worked for the “proper” employer.  Perhaps the new Congress will finally deal with this critical issue.  It is quite obvious that Bush will not.

 

Don Jensen

“No longer retired” in Tucson

 

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