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One Comment about the Medicare Advantage Preliminary Injunction

October 23, 2021 pm31 8:23 pm

Mulgrew sent out:

“Can I go to my current doctors and hospitals? Yes. The NYC Medicare Advantage Plus Plan is a Group Medicare PPO, which does not restrict access to providers.”

Municipal Labor Committee “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the NYC Medicare Advantage Plus Plan” (updated 8/11/21, on City of New York letterhead, with Emblem and Empire logos.)

The judge wrote:

“there is little clarity as to which health care providers will be accepting this new Medicare Advantage Plan” and “it is undisputed that much of the program terms are still unsettled and unclear.”

Honorable Lyle E Frank

It is hard to reconcile those two statements.

But before we believe that either is lying, remember that the judge is a lawyer, and Mulgrew doesn’t speak to members on big issues without talking to a lawyer first. And if lawyers wrote both of these things, then perhaps these things do not mean exactly what we think they do.

As an aside, I need to write about healthcare, the New York Health Act, the UFT leadership, and privatizing Medicare (Medicare Advantage). That writing is overdue. I apologize.

As another aside, it would be nice to have a UFT President who didn’t need to speak to a lawyer before speaking to members and chapter leaders.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Sean I Ahern permalink
    October 24, 2021 am31 10:31 am 10:31 am

    Who filed the suit?

    • October 24, 2021 am31 11:36 am 11:36 am

      It was an ad hoc retiree group. I’m wondering if someone knows more about them. I don’t know if they were teachers, or mixed.

      • Sean I Ahern permalink
        October 24, 2021 pm31 12:10 pm 12:10 pm

        who is paying the lawyer for the ad hoc group?

        • October 24, 2021 pm31 12:28 pm 12:28 pm

          I saw them on FaceBook – they were fund raising from amongst themselves – I don’t know if there was another funding source.

  2. October 24, 2021 pm31 1:27 pm 1:27 pm

    They raied $50 a head from many retirees from multiple unions but mostly UFT.

  3. Bennett Fischer permalink
    October 24, 2021 pm31 3:47 pm 3:47 pm

    As it stands, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Lyle E. Frank’s injunction order is merely a postponement, not a termination of the city’s switch to a privatized Medicare Advantage plan for city retirees, but…

    No matter what you may think about the city’s Medicare Advantage plan, or the privatization of public Medicare, the rollout of this Big Insurance pork barrel has certainly been a mess. And not just the standard mess one would expect any citywide administrative shift to be, but a mess so huge in scale, and horrendous in its potential consequences that Judge Frank found that the city’s deadlines for implementation would cause “irreparable harm” to retirees.

    Now the nervous damage control that had been emanating from UFT leadership – and which had recently been replaced by a patronizing dismissal of retirees’ fears – is ramping up anew. The MLC is distancing itself from the Emblem/Anthem Alliance as the blame game begins. It’s their fault. They messed up the rollout. (And my favorite: The postponement is a feature, not a bug!) But here’s the thing. The MLC is complicit. UFT leadership is complicit. They have been selling this switcheroo to us just as hard, fast, and furiously as the insurance companies have.

    UFT leadership has heard from UFT retirees time, after time, after time, that their doctors are either unaware of the new plan or have no intention of accepting the new plan. Yet time, after time, after time, they dismiss those fears and assure us otherwise. They tell us we are misinformed. They tell us not to believe our lying doctors. They condescendingly tell us we’ve been deluded by social media. They tell us to listen to the facts – so long as those facts only come from insurance salespeople or union leadership. We’ve heard the sales pitch, ad nauseum, at Healthcare Town Halls, in RTC general meetings, in RTC Healthcare Committee meetings, in Delegate Assembly reports, and in published FAQ sheets on city and UFT websites.

    Judge Frank simply states what city retirees have been saying all along, that “there is little clarity as to which health care providers will be accepting this new Medicare Advantage Plan.” I’m glad that a Supreme Court judge is listening to us. I’m disheartened that our union leadership is not.

    Maybe the city’s Medicare Advantage plan is the greatest thing since sex. Maybe it’s not. But the rushed, confusing rollout; the crass, hard sell of privatized Medicare to elderly retirees; the pain and anxiety those retirees are feeling, and the irreparable harm it may cause them, should knock the Unity caucus from their perch atop the union hierarchy. Unity’s fawning acquiescence to the mega-alliance of insurance companies that want to profit from the confusion of our most vulnerable retirees should be deal-breaking. Unity’s smug attitude of entitled unaccountability to membership, both retired and in-service, should be disqualifying. When union elections come around in the spring, I’m going to remember that leadership was cool with all this crap, and I will vote to replace them. We need a better union.

  4. Sean I Ahern permalink
    October 24, 2021 pm31 11:07 pm 11:07 pm

    There are also other health insurance companies who may have felt left out and are looking to get a piece of the action. Since when is a Judge’s word automatically given more credence than a union bureaucrats? Does a delay invite the next mayor to play a role? Remember the dirty pool that went on with the scuttling of the Scott Stringer nomination. The exploding health care cost crisis is real. What should the municipal unions do about it when they can see it looming over their heads in upcoming contract negotiations this winter/spring? Portraying the whole thing as simply another dastardly betrayal by the Unity caucus, ammo for a opposition slate in union elections, is a bit knee jerk for my taste.

    • October 24, 2021 pm31 11:46 pm 11:46 pm

      Aetna sued (on its own) and its case was dismissed.
      You asked about this suit further up, and already knew that it was filed by retirees.

      I give, in this case, the judge’s word no credence at all.

      But I am opposed to the privatization of Medicare, even if there is a health crisis. Especially if there is a health care crisis.

      Medicare for All, right? Unless it hurts the stabilization fund, in which case a private solution is better? Is that really the best course?

      I haven’t yet written a proper piece about Medicare Advantage Plus. I promise when I do, I will not dwell on Mulgrew and a judge lying to the world. The bigger issues are, well, bigger.

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