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If Mulgrew wins…

May 1, 2022 am31 8:49 am

Last week at the Municipal Labor Coalition (MLC) Michael Mulgrew and Harry Nespoli and others resumed disparaging the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees (NYC OPS Retirees).

Is it notable that Nespoli/Mulgrew are bashing NYC OPS Retirees?

NYC OPS Retirees fought the MLC for public opinion and in the courts, and won the first few skirmishes. NYC OPS Retirees prevented, for now, the MLC’s attempt to force retirees out of Medicare into a private MAP plan (Medicare Advantage Plus).

They helped convince many retirees to question their unions’ leaderships, and a third of retirees to opt out of the plan. (The cost of opting out, $191 per month, or about $2300 a year, is substantial. Retirees on fixed incomes who were willing to spend that much money must have been convinced that Anthem, Nespoli, Mulgrew, etc were lying about MAP being just as good as Medicare).

NYC OPS Retirees won a series of court battles. The latest, on March 2, blocked the City from attaching a price tag to traditional Medicare, while forcing retirees to choose.

Didn’t Mulgrew keep fighting?

No. He announced that he no longer supports the April 1st implementation date (which was now impossible anyhow). He mumbled that “retirees deserve better” – but he wasn’t talking about Medicare Advantage Plus (which he called “sound”) but rather about a better sales pitch and smoother implementation.

Mulgrew mumbled a few words, went silent, and disappeared

And then he went silent. Mulgrew is getting pummeled in the ongoing UFT election over Medicare Advantage. He is avoiding the topic as much as he can.

When a Unity person argues with me, I am ready. They can say “Jonathan, your coalition is crap” and I can answer “Mulgrew and Medicare” and they run away crying.

So for this entire election Unity has avoided talking about Medicare. And they have been trying to hide Mulgrew (canceled events, leaving his name out of the NY Teacher, keeping his face off their leaflets)

And what has changed?

The UFT election is almost over. Ballots are being mailed in. On May 10 they will be counted. Word is that turnout is up, which worries Unity. Unity relies on low turnout to maintain its hold on power. But Mulgrew may have learned that turnout is not up enough to defeat him. Or he may be guessing. Or getting ready. Last week’s episode was probably a trial balloon.

And after the election, if Unity/Mulgrew win?

We now know the direction they will go in. Full out attacks on the defenders of Medicare, starting with the NYC OPS Retirees. Mulgrew, Nespoli and their gang will characterize the retirees as lying and spreading misinformation. They will try to revive claims that giving up Medicare will bring retirees wonderful silver ‘benefits,’ claims that have already been proven false. They will spread rumors and accusations about the motives of the Retirees.

Thursday’s The New York Times article (Medicare Advantage Plans Often Deny Needed Care) or Friday’s Daily News article “Health Plan Hit: City Retirees Risk Loss of Care in Switch” (or Report: Medicare Advantage Plans Wrongly Deny Care, Physician Payments from MedPage, for those of you who refuse to pay for the Times) may have thrown some cold water on the MLC’s strategy, but most likely that will just delay their scheming a few days or weeks. The attacks on the retirees will come.

And then they will propose THE SAME MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLUS, but with a new implementation scheme. Since the judge narrowly ruled on the opt out – rumor has it that the MLC is planning to find a way to eliminate the opt out altogether, or to take away the choice of traditional Medicare. o

And what can we do?

  • Expect the attacks to come. Fact-check each of them (you can do your own research, but I recommend NYC OPS Retirees’ website and NYC OPS Retirees’ Facebook page. There is also the PTPM Facebook page. I think the PM is “Preserve Medicare”). And for those of you in the United Federation of Teachers, there is Retiree Advocate (Facebook) (Twitter) that I highly recommend, and one day hope to join.
  • Spread the word.
  • Vote! Look, every vote counts in this election. We might still defeat Mulgrew/Unity. And that would stop this plan in its tracks. But even if we don’t, the margin matters. When Mulgrew receives the lowest vote total for a Unity presidential candidate in UFT history, that will send a message. But how low can it go?

The vast majority of late votes will come in for United for Change. And if you mail yours in soon, it will be counted. But far too many, thousands, of ballots never get mailed. Did you mail yours? It just takes two minutes. Do it. Did your friends vote? If you know five people, and you think they all voted, ask. I bet one or two didn’t. Get them to take care of it. And you have just changed your voting power from 1 to 3. You have tripled your voice.

Complacency is our enemy. Information is good for us. Activism is our friend. Because if Mulgrew wins, he’s coming for our healthcare. We will need our collective activism to protect Medicare.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    May 2, 2022 pm31 6:13 pm 6:13 pm

    Buy ATTACKING RETIREES they must think that active EMPLOYEES are either stupid or out to lunch. BECAUSE they will be RETIREES one day. Its INSULTING TO ONES inteligence

  2. UFT retiree permalink
    May 2, 2022 pm31 10:33 pm 10:33 pm

    PTPM FB: Preserve Traditional Public Medicare
    Mulgrew is going for the jugular. And he brought Weingarten in to help him.

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