Former MPD Lieutenant and wife fight to keep retiree benefits - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Former MPD Lieutenant and wife fight to keep retiree benefits

Booker and his wife (Source: WMC Action News 5) Booker and his wife (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Dramatic moments at Memphis City Hall surrounded a council committee discussion about the city's plan to drop health care subsidies for retirees under 65.

After the meeting, 62-year-old Memphis police retiree, former Lieutenant David Booker, struggled to leave the meeting on his walker.

In the hallway, he consoled his crying wife.

"This will mean us selling our house," said Booker's wife, Kim Booker. "This will mean what money I have that I can put him in a daycare to get some help that I pay out of my own pocket, I won't be able to do.  This will mean medicine doctors are wanting us to try, we won't be able to get."

Shortly after he retired, Booker suffered a stroke.

"I don't want any expectations," said Booker. "I just want to go home while I still have one. Please help me."

Booker helped launch the city's first neighborhood watch and served as a police recruiter.

City Human Resources Director Quintin Robinson said the city must reform health care or go broke.

He said his staff is working with retirees to enroll in the federal marketplace.

"They'll be able to get benefits that are good as what they have today," Robinson explained.

Plus, Robinson added that the recent Supreme Court health care ruling helps the retirees.

Retired residents can also use the city's Methodist health care clinics free of charge.

Meanwhile, Mayor A C Wharton took some time to sit down with the Bookers.

"This poor couple, they were confused," Robinson explained. "They were frustrated because they're listening to a lot of information out there that is just not correct."

The city promised to investigate the Bookers' claim.

"I've got great news for them today," said Robinson. "As of July 1, this retiree has been approved for Medicare."

The city also said Kim Booker will be allowed to stay on the city's supplemental coverage plan.   They will take all other retirees on a case-by-case basis.

These changes are still in the discussion stage, but if approved, they will go into effect at the end of December.

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