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March 17, 2017      5:31 PM

Competing budgets propose fix for health care for teacher retirees

Both chambers are pretty far apart while retired teachers say the House is “laser focused on developing ways to help lessen the pain on retirees”

The House and Senate have found hundreds of millions of dollars to plug a hole in health care for teacher retirees, but a long-term fix likely will require major structural changes.

What Tim Lee of the Texas Retired Teachers Association can say is that lawmakers have found real money for TRS-Care in a tight budget session. The Senate has ponied up $317 million. The House has pulled $500 million from the Rainy Day Fund to cover increasing costs.

TRTA has probably gotten the best deal it can this session while awaiting some kind of permanent solution for spiraling costs, Lee said. On the Senate side, Sen. Joan Huffman’s Senate Bill 788 has phased in premium increases, slowed somewhat by a bump in the state contribution from 1 percent to 1.25 percent. That percentage is applied to the aggregate of teacher pay in the state, Lee said.

By Kimberly Reeves

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