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The Proposed Amendment to 12-126 Threatens the Healthcare of In-service NYC Workers as well

November 8, 2022 am30 3:49 am

Adams and Mulgrew are threatening the healthcare of active workers AND retirees. The Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) and the City Office of Labor Relations have been trying to force retirees out of Real Medicare into Medicare Advantage. Since they have been blocked they are now trying to amend the City Administrative Code (like local law) to make it easy to reduce how much health care is provided.

It’s playing in the media like it’s all about retirees. Why should actives care? Well we should.

First, those retiree benefits that UFT President Mulgrew is trying to diminish? Those are ours, one day.

But more immediately, the changes he and Mayor Adams and the head of the MLC, Sanitation Workers, harry Nespoli are pushing – they would enable to the City to cut health care for active, in-service employees.

Solidarity between retired teachers and in-service teachers, between retired city workers and active city workers – that solidarity is critical to preventing Adams/Mulgrew/Nespoli’s plans to reduce how much health care each of us gets.

A friend, a 71 year old retired NYC employee (not a UFT member) who put in 35 years of service and has kept informed on this matter, wrote up some notes. Here is an excerpt. All the parts that affect in-service members are in bold type:

·         The proposed changes to 12-126 have their origin in an ill-conceived scheme hatched by the previous Mayor and the leaders of the MLC that involved the ‘borrowing’ of a billion dollars in health insurance stabilization funds to pay for raises to active employees and ‘repaying’ the borrowed funds with ‘savings’ generated by forcing existing New York City retirees to enroll in a ‘free’ Federally subsidized Medicare Advantage plan or to begin paying for the $200 per month per person for themselves and their dependents for the free Medicare supplemental health insurance plan they had earned as a result of their years of service.

·         While the previous Mayor and his MLC cohorts did succeed in ‘borrowing’ the stabilization money to fund raises, their repayment plan failed spectacularly due to the fact it violated 12-126 and the extraordinarily inferior quality of the Medicare Advantage Plan they wanted to impose on existing retirees.

·         Although they are now being presented as measures designed to reduce and stabilize healthcare benefit costs, the proposed changes to 12-126 are first and foremost a second attempt to implement the previous administration’s ill-founded and poorly conceived repayment plan.

·         The proposed changes to 12-126 will put the quality and cost of active employee and retiree health care benefits at risk by allowing the single health insurance price setting benchmark and the all-inclusive definition of the class it applies to that were explicitly set forth in 12-126 when it was adopted by the City Council to be replaced at any time by the current Mayor and his MLC cohorts as well as by future Mayors and MLC leaders with multiple different price setting benchmarks and class definitions designed to raise the monthly health insurance premiums to be paid by whatever group or groups of people they choose to target.

·         The way proposed changes to 12-126 are constructed the City Council, the City’s legislative body, will be unable to review, question, moderate or prevent the imposition of price setting benchmarks and class definitions a Mayor and the MLC decide to set in order to raise premiums.

·         The proposed changes to 12-126 will give all power in setting health insurance premiums to the Mayor and MLC members and reduce not only the role of the City Council but of everyone else to that of a powerless bystander.

·         The impact of the proposed changes to 12-126 will fall first and most heavily on existing retirees because the changes will allow the Mayor and the MLC to once again offer them the  Hobson’s choice of paying $200 per month per person for themselves and each of their dependents to keep the now free supplemental health insurance they were promised and earned or to allow themselves and their dependents to be enrolled in a privately run Medicare Advantage Plan, which is health insurance model proven to foster corruption, offer fewer provider choices and place profit ahead of quality care.

·         In the future, active employees can and are likely to be impacted by the proposed changes to 12-126 because the changes will allow this Mayor and his MLC cohorts as well as future Mayors and MLC leaders to change pricing benchmarks and class definitions so as to impose or raise the premiums active employees pay for their health insurance whenever they deem it necessary to cut costs or save money and to do so without any public input or review.

·         The proposed changes to 12-126 will result in active employees confronting upon their retirement the same Hobson’s choice to be imposed on existing retirees and needing to choose between paying $200 per month per person for themselves and each of their dependents for the free supplemental health insurance they were originally promised or allowing themselves and their dependents to be enrolled in a privately run Medicare Advantage Plan, which absent substantial reforms at the Federal level will still be a health insurance model that fosters corruption, offers fewer provider choices and places profit ahead of quality care.

·         That the proposed changes to 12-126 will do nothing to temper the rising hospital and prescription drug costs which are the true drivers of escalating health insurance premiums and that those rising costs would best be addressed not by changing 12-126 which relates specifically to the premium amounts the City will cover but by the City, the State, the unions and health insurance providers coming together to negotiate better deals with doctors, hospitals and prescription drug providers.

Inter-generational Labor Solidarity
3 Comments leave one →
  1. Elayne Kessler permalink
    November 8, 2022 am30 9:08 am 9:08 am

    Unions used to have our best interests at heart…..this proposed change is despicable. We worked hard for the city and the students …as a member of the UFT I’d expect Mulgrew to protect us……he’s got some nerve!!!

  2. Barbara permalink
    November 8, 2022 am30 10:44 am 10:44 am

    So despicable to put us retirees in this horrible situation. I worked thirty years as a para professional in Special Education. My husband passed , he was only forty two years old, I was the breadwinner . I worked three jobs . I kept my job because of the health benefits, I supported two sons. How can they take away our benefits. We must keep fighting. Y the way, I am still working part time in a school.

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