Merlet: RISE Delaware shares appreciation of supporters


I am the treasurer for Retirees Investing in Social Equity Delaware, the organization fighting to maintain health benefits for state retirees. First, I would like to thank all of you who have contributed so generously to RISE. Without your contributions, we would not be the organization that we are, and we would not be able to both keep up the legal fight and prepare for the next battle. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And you have done so much more. You come to meetings, you show up at rallies, you bake cookies, you do research, you visit senior centers, you write to legislators and members of the Retiree Healthcare Benefits Advisory Subcommittee and the State Employee Benefits Committee. You have made such a difference that I cannot begin to express my gratitude.

And you thank us. I stop at the post office box a couple of times a week, and of all the RISE volunteers, I do believe I am the luckiest because I get to read the “thank you for all you are doing” notes that accompany your checks. Some of you tell your stories; many of you attach your email addresses and tell the number of years you worked for the state. I do not and cannot write and thank you individually, but please know how grateful we are.

Retirees Investing in Social Equity is not about one person, or two or three. There is no one person more important than any other in this battle, and while Elisa Diller and John Kowalko and I formed RISE, and many others have worked to build it, this is not about us. The three of us said from the very beginning that this was about quality health care and peace of mind, things that every Delawarean, and indeed every American, deserves. No one should have their health limited by an insurer’s rules. As expensive as some tests are, they save money in the longer term by avoiding or preventing the need for other costly procedures.

We have all worked hard to save current retirees’ benefits. We thank members of the subcommittee for nearly unanimously voting to grandfather us, and we urge the Statewide Employee Benefits Committee to do the same.

We are obviously not done. Current state employees must have their promised benefits maintained. And for those of you reading this who are not state employees, please know that we do not stop there. Everyone must receive sustainable health care when they retire. Medicare has no substitute, and persons should not be forced to give up Medicare, as Medicare Advantage plans demand. Extra benefits should be just that: supplements not substitutions.

As always, if you have questions about your checks, contributions or other financial matters, please shoot me an email at and put “RISE treasurer” in the subject line.

Thank you.

Connie Merlet


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