Mayor Wharton on health care cuts: 'Nobody is going to go without care'
"The bottom line is that we will have, I won't call it insurance, but assurance the care will be there," Mayor Wharton said. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(WMC)- After Memphis police and fire retirees protested outside Memphis City Hall on Tuesday, July 1, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton says no matter what, no city retirees will be left behind.
"The bottom line is that we will have, I won't call it insurance, but assurance the care will be there," Mayor Wharton said.
Mayor Wharton says the city is partnering with local health care providers like Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare, Baptist Hospital, and BlueCross BlueShield to make sure health care for retirees is paid.
"Nobody is going to go without care whether they're pre-65 or in that top group that remains on the subsidy," Wharton added.
Outside city hall on Tuesday, police and fire retirees, along with their families, protested city mandated cuts to their benefits.
Inside, the city council debated an up to $2 million safety net to help retirees pay for things like co-pays, deductibles, premiums, and medications.
"Your retirement years, you're not supposed to, even if it's a good change, you want things to stay the way they are. We all look forward to that so I take it seriously," Mayor Wharton said.
The mayor says specifics with local healthcare providers are still being ironed out. He says they approached the city, wanting to help those in police and fire services to make sure their medical needs are met.
"They protect, they fight our fires and we're gonna give back. That's just it," Mayor Wharton added.
Surviving spouses and children of those who died in the line of duty will remain on the city's plan. Retirees who are 65 years old and older without Medicare will also qualify for the assistance.
In the upcoming weeks, the city will be launching an aggressive education campaign to educate retirees about their health care coverage options.
Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.