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Sunday, November 23, 2014
Tired of hearing that I get 'entitlements'
(Page 2 of 3)

Medicare is a national social insurance program, administered by the federal government since 1965, that guarantees access to health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older and younger people with disabilities. As a social insurance program, Medicare spreads the financial risk associated with illness across society to protect everyone, and thus has a somewhat different social role from for-profit private insurers, which manage their risk portfolio by adjusting their pricing according to perceived risk.

Just as I have paid for my Social Security through payroll deductions for the past 55 years, I pay for my Medicare through my public pension earned as a New York City teacher for 33 years.

I understand that many younger Americans believe that I am destroying both education and public spending by getting a pension, but in 1965, when I came out of the Navy and became a teacher, I made a deal with New York City.

That deal included two understandings: I would never get rich being a teacher – my first annual salary in 1965 was $5,900 a year and my last in 2001 was just north of $60,000 a year; and at the end of my career, I would get a pension and health care for the rest of my life. Not too much to ask from an employer.

So far, the city has kept its promise, and if doing so pushes the city toward bankruptcy, I would say that there are a thousand ways to cut the city budget, including doing away with borough presidents and all the other fluff and perks of government.

I would say the same thing to Nassau County districts that have high pension costs.

Cut someplace else. Your retired employees deserve what they bargained for when they signed on.

So, here I am at nearly 74, retired once, still working and collecting a salary, a pension and Social Security.

I am not alone.

Studies show that more than a third of workers -- 37 percent -- say they plan to retire not at age 65, but years later, up from 14 percent of workers that planned to extend their working life in 1995.

More than half the workers ages 58 to 64 say that they plan to work beyond age 64, a snapshot of the new reality.

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