Gooden calls for more money for retired educator healthcare program

Lance Gooden

State Rep. Lance Gooden on Friday sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott asking for the issue of the retired educator healthcare program, TRS-Care, to be added to the upcoming special session of the State Legislature.

Gooden also filed a bill Friday to “appropriate $1 billion from the Rainy Day Fund for TRS-Care to be appropriated over the next four years, while providing guidance to TRS and enhancing the program.”

See the complete text of Gooden’s letter to the Governor below.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Dear Governor Abbott,

As a supporter of retired teachers across our great state, I know you share my concern for current and future retirees. Many educators have expressed their disappointment and outrage about legislation and lack of funding passed in the regular session for TRS-Care and the retired educator healthcare program.

As a result of rising healthcare costs and a long-term disconnect between medical costs and the TRS-Care revenue stream, the program entered the 2018-2019 budget process with a $1 billion projected shortfall. HB 3976 was passed in both chambers to save TRS-Care from total demise, but the lack of funding for the program has resulted in an overwhelming financial burden for retirees living on fixed incomes.

I have listened to stories about retired teachers who are, for the first time in their lives, choosing between healthcare, necessary living costs, and taking on a new job to cover expenses. Our retirees deserve better than what we in Austin have delivered so far. Reminding retirees how much worse off they would have been without HB 3976 is a strategy that many legislators are finding difficult to express.

While there will no doubt be competing ideas for how we secure the present financial needs and long-term funding required to ensure retirement security for Texas educators, I respectfully am requesting the addition of TRS-Care funding to the call for the special session.

Today I filed HB 151, which would appropriate $1 billion from the Rain Day Fund for TRS-Care to be appropriated over the next four years, while providing guidance to TRS and enhancing the program. Since yesterday’s Senate announcements, I have spoken with retired teachers who are not in support of legislation that relies on gambling revenue, has no certain revenue source, or is coupled with contentious education proposals like those that died at the end of the regular session. We cannot afford to have the security of our retirees held hostage in an effort to pass other legislation that does not have broad support.

I appreciate your leadership and look forward to seeing you next week. I implore you to consider adding this necessary item to the call. I am confident my colleagues in the Legislature have heard retired teachers loudly and clearly, and we stand ready to make this right.

Respectfully,

Lance Gooden

21 thoughts on “Gooden calls for more money for retired educator healthcare program”

  1. Thank you. I have reached out to the governor, lt governor, and my representatives in the legislature. What the state has done to public school retirees is unconscionable. As a newly retired under 65, single woman with CRPS, I am going to have to find a job. Why should I pay money out of my modest annuity to an insurance company AND pay all of my medical bills out of pocket because I won’t reach the $3,000 deductible? It would be cheaper to forget the insurance and pay as you go. I truly believe this was a ploy to force retirees out of the TRS Care they were promised.

  2. Thank you so much for supporting Texas retired teachers. I recently retired after 32 years in the classroom and will be 65 in May. I want to tell you the story of a coworker; she has been an assistant for 10 years. When she left her bank job to go to work helping in the classroom, she lost all rights to her own Social Security and that of her husband’s. She carries her family on her insurance….which costs over $1,000 a month. This lady, who is a wonderful asset to the classroom/district, brings home $41.11…..that’s right…no typo…..$41.11 a month. So let’s look down the road at her retirement. She probably makes…maybe $15,000 a year……do you think she will EVER be able to afford this catastrophic healthcare policy that the state just pushed us into? We both know the answer to that…..no way. This is where a lot of public school employees fall…..your assistants, custodians, secretaries, cafeteria workers, bus drivers. These people work for very little pay…..many work for the insurance. Do you think someone is going to want to drive a bus for this insurance? No they won’t…..and there will be a bigger shortage of bus drivers than there already is.

    I cringe every time I hear a young person say they want to be a teacher…..why, the pay is low……it is hard to pay bills much less save or have anything nice, no one respects the profession (if you can even call it that anymore), you cannot benefit from your earned Social Security, you can’t please the state or the parents, now your healthcare is useless, and the government wants to…and eventually will, change the retirement plan to a 401K. Just what are we suppose to live on? Your love for the kids is the only perk, and it does not pay the bills.

    As a retired teacher who has loved her profession, I thank you for any support you can give towards public education and the thousands of dedicated people who help mold our most valuable asset…..a child.

    God Bless

  3. Thank you Lance Goodwin! I am a retired teacher who works a parttime job and teaches twirling lessons to supplement my retirement income. I am very concerned about my future as a single woman.

    I also raised my three children on an educator’s salary, so we are use to working hard to make “ends meet”. However, as a retired person with a graduate degree, I would hope that I could trust the pension system in which I paid into since I was twenty-three years old. There was no money left each month to invest in any other retirement options.

    I appreciate you making a stand for us, the Texas Educators.

  4. Mr. Goodwin,
    Thank you for the support of public education and its teacher. I appreciate your dedication to our causes. However, I would like to see if you would address i topic that has not been talked about in these negotiations. We teachers would love to have you introduce legislation that would repeal the GPO and WEP. As you know very few teachers will never get a portion of the Social Security that they paid into the system. Please help.

    Thank you for your time.

    Robert Neyra

  5. Please please help us!! We have to chose from high cost of our insurance premiums versus food, clothing, electricity and it is impossible!!!
    The insurance premiums are over the top for retirees over 65!! We where paying $225.00 monthly now it is going to be $590.00 monthly!!

  6. The teachers I know, that are on the TRS insurance plan can’t afford to lose any of their retirement funds. Especially the widows. We don’t receive enough to live on in the first place. We can’t receive our husbands SS. Our question is where does that money go? This also should be an issue brought up. We shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistake. That’s an issue we have taught our children, and have practiced ourselves for many years.

  7. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    If teachers want more for future health insurance they can do what the rest of us will have to do….pay for it out of our own account…they are not anything special so do not need any special monies taken out of our accounts..
    Use your brains for something besides to put a hat on.

    1. I am 80 and must still work after teaching fir 41 years. I don’t have any other income. People are so misled. We didn’t pay social security. My husband was a teacher but didn’t live long enough for me to receive any compensation. It was all used while he was sick. Don’t talk about what you don’t know about.

  8. Thank you so very much Rep. Gooden. I’ve been retired 13 years. I already have to have a part time job just to get through the month. Everything has gone up except our TRS pay. We received a thirteenth check one year, about 10 years ago. I live on $22,000 a year now. Not only have we not received a cost of living raise in over ten years, I have $400 taken out of my social security each month because of that “windfall” profit law. I know a bill was introduced a couple of years ago, but was voted down. I still don’t understand that receiving TRS and Social Security is double dipping. One is federal, one is state. I paid my required share to both, but now I feel I’m being cheated. If I could have that $400 that I earned, I would be able to pay my bills! Thank you for all your efforts. If they raise our health premiums, I wouldn’t be able to afford it. Thanks again! We need more representatives like you.

  9. Thank you Sr for your support of the Texas Retired Teachers health insurance problem. I’m 79 years old and taught 35 years in Texas.

  10. Thank you sir for doing this for retired teachers. I could repeat everything that was said in the previous responses because it applies in my case also. I know many retirees that are just plain frightened at what will happen to them in 2018.

    Thank you for being our voice of reason.

  11. Thank you so much for helping retired teachers! We have four retired teachers in the family and four who are still teaching.

  12. Thank you for taking up Texas’ Retired Teachers TRS woes. I am a retired/rehired public high school teacher in the Como-Pickton Consolidated Independent School District. I live in Winnsboro, TX. This school year begins my third with CPCISD. I pay a surcharge to TRS because I’m drawing TRS retirement and a teacer’s salary. I went back to teaching for some extra money to help with household expenses, and some house remodeling and building a concrete driveway, but my husband and I both have had several health issues, with his requiring long hospital stays, many tests, serious surgeries, long recuperation and many follow-up visits. Needless to say, we now need my extra money to live.
    I’m sure there are others worse off than I, and I do hope your bill is passed.
    Thank you again

  13. Thank you. I am 80 and must continue to work to pay for my insurance and necessities. This would be so helpful. I’m so glad to see someone that fights fir teachers and educators . Want to run fir president?

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