Illinois and New York. Retiree healthcare under assault. Teacher union leaders complicit.
I’m just shaking my damn head this morning.
In both New York City and in Illinois, in the middle of a damn pandemic, retired teachers are in trouble over their healthcare.
What a country.
And the teacher unions in both Illinois and New York city are complicit or worse.
In Illinois (outside of Chicago) retired teachers can opt into a state bargained Medicare Advantage (MA) program at a premium that is below what most private MA charge. One reason for the lower premium is a subsidy funded by the contributions of active teachers (including us when before we retired) and matched by the state.
It is all managed by an administrative state agency, Central Management Services. This year CMS acted administratively and asked the teacher retirement board to reduce the contributions of both active teachers in the state from $130 million to $99 million.
Actuaries found that this plan will cause the subsidy to go belly up in two to four years. Without the subsidy the cost to retirees will be unsustainable.
The Teacher Retirement System board of trustees approved the CMS request with only the two elected retiree members dissenting.
The two state teacher unions, the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Education Association have said nothing other than the IEA sending an email to members not to be concerned.
Only about 12,000 members of the 130,000 member IEA are retired.
Meanwhile, in New York the retirees are being moved out of a state funded retirement health plan into a private Medicare Advantage plan with the complicity of their union leadership and with no input from members.
Why is this a bad thing?
James Collins, a retirees’ advocate and prior chair of the NGO Committee on Ageing at the UN explains it in an op-ed piece in today’s New York Daily News.
The details of the issues in Illinois and New York are different.
In Illinois teachers can choose to enroll in an MA program that requires a subsidy, a subsidy that is being threatened by administrative action.
CMS in answerable to the Governor.
In New York teachers are resisting being moved into a private Medicare Advantage program, a move that was sprung on them with no advance warning.
What is common in both is they are assaults on retirees and our healthcare.
Teachers are fighting back on our own. There are law suits.
And our teacher unions are on the wrong side.
"In Illinois (outside of Chicago) retired teachers can opt into a state bargained Medicare Advantage (MA) program at a premium that is below what most private MA charge."
Medicare Advantage plans are privatized healthcare run for profit. The how, what, where, why and how are all different from plan to plan. The DETAILS are written in specialized language for every injury, disease, medication, medical professional payments, etc.
The devil is in the DETAILS. The DETAILS are written for corporate profits by the corporations themselves.
Who will guide us through this hellish game?
"And the teacher unions in both Illinois and New York city are complicit or worse."
Our state and federal legislators are the best money can buy. Corporations own large numbers of them.
What is next from this oligarchic game of life, suffering and death?
Profits, and more profits.
What is wrong with the teacher union? Do they read the reports? Do they consult retired teachers? Don't they know that businesses (health insurances companies) are always on the prowl to go private and then raise rates? What can we do?