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Moving NYC teachers to Medicare Advantage is scaring the crap out of folks.
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The deal cut between New York teacher union leadership, along with other New York municipal union leaders, and the City to move retirees to a Medicare Advantage has got plenty of retired teachers worried and active.
And for good reason.
They fear it could undermine their health coverage. They are very unhappy about the $191 monthly penalty if they choose to remain on their current Medicare coverage, instead of being automatically enrolled in the new plan.
It definitely has become an issue in the upcoming United Federation of Teachers election. The UFT is, along with Chicago’s CTU, an affiliate of the American Federation of teachers, headed by Randi Weingarten.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew was part of the public employee union leadership that worked out the deal with Bill deBlasio. deBlasio was New York City mayor a the time the deal to change coverage was made.
Those running to challenge Mulgrew and his Unity Caucus are out collecting petitions now.
Norm Scott, retired union activist in New York, reports on his blog:
All the above are retirees, most in their 70s and even 80s. People are coming out of the woodwork to sign, risking their health and welfare. You know why: Medicare.
A teacher at a major school running with us and petitioning texted: "The biggest reason people give for signing my petitions is the taking away of Medicare for retirees." So, today, I will be holding a signing event for 15 retirees. But instead of taking an hour at amass event I had to stagger their times to keep them safe - and one good friend who is unvaxed was told not to come. I have to track her down at another time. Another signer called last night to say he was still positive. He's 82 years old.
Yes Virginia, Welcome to UFT Elections: Petitioning in the Age of Covid - Unity Caucus Policy Risks Retiree and working member Health.
New York teacher friends tell me that this challenge to the entrenched leadership is real and has got the current leadership running scared.
Today’s New York Daily News says that the union leadership is attacking retirees who are resisting the move the private healthcare insurance through Medicare Advantage.
But Harry Nespoli, chairman of the Municipal Labor Committee, harshly dismissed the retirees’ concerns earlier this month in a couple of letters obtained by The News.
“The rump retiree group continues to spread misleading information as to the plan provisions,” Nespoli wrote in a Jan. 10 missive to city union leaders.
On the same day, Nespoli — whose committee serves as an umbrella representative for the city’s 102 public sector unions — made a similar charge in a letter to Mayor Adams, who has faced calls from the retiree group to block the Medicare Advantage switchover before an April 1 automatic enrollment deadline.
Claiming the “so-called retiree group” has spread “ill-founded and misleading allegations,” Nespoli urged Adams to ignore their pleas because “contrary to what you’ve been told,” the Medicare Advantage plan “makes all doctors/hospitals participating in Medicare available” to retirees.
But Nespoli’s claim is contradicted by a story in the same Daily News article describing how a retiree, a cancer patient at Memorial Sloan Kettering hospital, has been informed her cancer treatments will not be covered under the new Medicare Advantage plan.
All this bull makes me scream for a single national health care system.
In the mean while the teacher opposition caucus is running on a platform opposed to Medicare Advantage.
No Corporate Interests in Education and Healthcare: We will fight to remove private greed from our profession, our livelihood, and our schools.
There are a lot of retired teachers who are members of the UFT and get to vote.