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Why did the AFT reject a resolution opposed to Medicare privatization?
As we get close to 2023 I’m still following from some distance the fight by New York public employees resisting being forced into a privatized Medicare Advantage program.
Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers is among those pushing for New York public employees, including retired public school teachers, into the for-profit private insurance plan that is supposed to cover what regular Medicare does not.
Medicare Advantage plans have come under greater scrutiny and criticism in recent years for over-charging the government and denying coverage for medically necessary treatments.
When MA programs came on the market they were sold as a way to save government money. Now they do just the opposite.
But is Mulgrew and the UFT leadership acting alone or are they pursuing a large agenda of their parent union, the American Federation of Teachers and it’s president, Randi Weingarten?
It was Weingarten who was outspoken during the 2020 presidential campaign in opposing Senator Bernie Sanders’ call for Medicare for All, claiming workers were better off bargaining health care locally.
As someone who has had to bargain healthcare locally many times as part of a teacher bargaining team I can tell you that Weingarten is just wrong about this.
Michael Antonucci, a libertarian anti-union critic of both national teacher unions, reported in The 74 that at the 2022 American Federation of Teachers convention a committee rejected a resolution opposing the privatization of Medicare.
A committee did not concur with a resolution to oppose the privatization of Medicare, for reasons I can only assume are related to the UFT’s involvement in moving retired New York City teachers into Medicare Advantage plans.
Antonucci suggests in this brief reference that the AFT was acting in service to the UFT on Medicare privatization.
But with Weingarten’s clear support of employer-based healthcare and opposition to Medicare for All, it is more likely that Mulgrew is just following orders.
And that’s why I am following all this.
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