Monday, July 6, 2009

An Open Letter

I received an email from my wonderful older brother with an attached email that failed to reach me the conventional way. It was a note from a member of a Michigan group of retired school personnel. I thought that I should share its contents here.

Greetings from Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico:

As you have already determined, the email account that I had used was canceled. I moved from Port Huron to Mexico over 2 years ago. At the present time, my companion and I are attempting to live on my Michigan teachers' pension with some amount of dignity and comfort. We discovered that we could not afford to live in Michigan with the pension monies I earned in service to my community and the State of Michigan. Even after 2 years, that fact troubles me greatly.

Your email suggested that your current work with Medicare Advantage Health is very important. I agree. However, rather than working on Medicare improvement, wouldn't securing a public option health insurance plan for everyone be of greater importance in the long run?

My companion has no insurance and as long as I am living in Mexico neither do I. Fortunately, most of the life saving medications that I need are sold over-the-counter at mere fractions of their costs in the United States. By the time that I would meet the huge deductibles and scrape together money for the co-pays and doctor office calls (more deductibles and co-pays) needed for medication prescription renewals I would have paid many times the costs I experience here. The American health care system is broken. What are you doing to change it?

We could not afford housing, transportation, food, and medical care in Michigan. Here we can. Here we can live without the constant worry of surviving on my "great reward for service". Here, we live surrounded by breathtaking beauty and some of the most kind and gracious people on the North American continent.

As for renewing my membership in the MARSP, I cannot afford to support your causes. I am grateful that in my youth I was able to become a life member in the MEA-R. I trust you folks will work together to improve the lives and future retirements of Michigan's education employees.

J. Lee Harris

PS You have my permission to share my letter. If anyone is interested in a better life after retirement, they may want to consider moving to the Lake Chapala region. We have a rather large community of American, Canadian, and European retirees. Come for the Mariachi bands and tequila --- stay for the good life in Paradise.


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