“I’m fighting for my life here,” said William Parker a 74 year old, former General Motors employee.
Yesterday, GM pulled the rug out from under him when the auto giant announced it would eliminate health benefits for retired, salaried workers over 65.
I’m not kidding folks. Just like that, he lost his GM health care benefits that he has relied on. It’s horrible timing because Parker has cancer and a new cancer drug he’s been taking will now cost him $2,700 a month, not the $50 he was paying thanks to his GM coverage, according to an article in the New York Times today.
GM’s move is part of an overall cost cutting effort to help the financially troubled automaker, and it’s the latest in the type of worker screwing that’s been going on in this country.
“Yes we promised you health benefits Mr. Parker,” said the company. “Sike! We had our fingers crossed.”
That’s really the bottom line. There are no guarantees you’ll have health benefits, a pension. It’s all just a house of cards ready to collapse.
Health care coverage has been the target of many companies in the United States. Many younger workers are lucky if they get bare-bones plans, and older workers who are retired and those who are struggling with illnesses are at risk of losing it altogether.
There is Medicare of course, but according to Fidelity Investments, even with that coverage, the out of pocket costs for a 65 year old couple can top $200,000.
So, the way I see it, we’re dooming this population of hard workers to a life of money woes in their supposed Golden Years.
That is, of course, the workers who were not members of the corner office. Those top dogs are golden when it comes to their health upon retirement thanks to lucrative packages they’ve secured for themselves, on top of the obscene pay these executives have pocketed.
I’m assuming GM’s CEO Rick Wagoner will hold on to his benefits when he heads for the rocking chair.
It seemed like things were getting better Rick. After a pay cut, the executive got a 33 percent pay hike this year for a grand total of $2.2 million a year, not including benefits.
I guess it wasn’t rosy for every one, especially not for people like Parker:
“G.M was good to me and I hate to be bitter. But I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do.”
Indeed, this nation has to figure out what it’s going to do.