Saturday, June 25, 2022

Dems and UFT want everyone in Privatized Medicare Advantage (MulgrewCare)- Machinist Retirees Resist, Threats to Working Member HealthCare


Our leadership is willing to sacrifice our health care needs for their own narrow political ends.
 
 
That may not be such an easy sell as:
...it looks like Mulgrewcare might eventually be coming to active people. Only a judge stopped a healthcare plan that would have denied a choice of free plans for retirees. We called the inferior plan Mulgrewcare.--- James Eterno, ICEUFT Blog
This is not only a local but a national issue as a project of the Dem party since the Clinton days:
A Biden administration official in charge of the program has said they intend to have all the traditional Medicare beneficiaries in such for-profit programs by 2030..... Daily Kos
And the UFT/AFT/NYSUT anti progressive agenda is tied to Dem Center right corporatists where the health care industry pores millions of lobbying dollars.

Saturday, June 25, 2022
 
There's a lot on this plate for you to chew on. Retiree Advocate continues to work toward fighting the attempt by the city and our own beloved union to remove us from Medicare and into a higher expense MedAdv plan to save money. Someone explain how much higher expenses save money unless it comes out of services.   
 
June 30 will be a year since our big march and rally to protest MulgrewCare. Posts from June/July 2021:
Last week we had another rally at city hall. I've been trying to keep up with the story:
And James has an update:
  • ICEUFT Blog ACTIVE CITY WORKERS NEED TO WATCH OUT FOR UNIONS DISCUSSING HEALTHCARE SAVINGS - UFT Chapter Leader Update: Efforts begin to rein in health care costs. The Municipal Labor Committee, the umbrella group of nearly 100 municipal labor unions including the UFT, negotiates the health care benefits of all city workers. The top priority of the MLC and the UFT is to maintain high-quality, premium-free health care for all city workers even as costs increase year after year. The city, with the MLC’s support, issued a request for information on June 16 to let the health care industry know that the city is seeking a 10% decrease in health care costs without sacrificing any of its employees’ existing benefits
This cutout from the article on the Machinists resistance sums up the situation:
the Medicare direct contracting pilot program that Trump initiated where equity firms and insurance companies could come in and basically buy up clinics and medical facilities and move people over to that private system without having to really notify them or explain to Medicare recipients that they were now in a different system,” Lux told the members.....  there is about $1.6 trillion in the Medicare Trust Fund that these private equity firms and insurance companies are just waiting to get at—to make a profit 
While we know it's impossible that we will see Medicare for All nationally, there is the NY Health Act which both the UFT and DC 37 oppose. Why? One answer is they employ many people to handle our healthcare and those, often patronage, jobs would disappear. The other is that they can claim to members that the leadership has delivered health care and once that's out of their hands, what else can they deliver? Bupkus. So our leadership is willing to sacrifice our health care needs for their own narrow political ends.
 
It is important to connect what's happening locally with the national trend which is privatization to save money on the backs of the patients while insuring massive profits to industry. I posted a story from The Lever on how Biden is pushing privatization:
BTW - Biden has appointed a guy who wants to privatize social security too.
Reality check -- 2024 will be a disaster and will have the even more awful Rep a trifecta and a DeSantis will be a smart Trump and give us our own Viktor Orban. For me the only Dem who could have a chance is John Fetterman but given his health etc that is a dim chance. Pete or Harris? OY! We're dead.

Here are two more stories to check out: An update from the lawsuit that has stopped MulgrewCare so far and  -- this union is fighting back:
On June 13th the International Association of Machinists IAM 751 Retirement Club voted overwhelmingly to end the privatization of Medicare and to send their resolution to their congressional delegation, to President Biden, and to Secretary Xavier Becerra at Health and Human Services.   
 
Machinists’ District 751 represents 27,000 members who work at Boeing and some smaller shops across the state of Washington.  It is one of the largest organizations within the IAM.
 
The privatization scheme the 751 Retirement Club opposes is ACO REACH, formerly called direct contracting entities (DCE).  It is a pilot program in which seniors who chose traditional Medicare are placed, without their consent, into plans that are run by insurance companies, private equity, and venture capitalists who can take as high as 40% in overhead and profit from the Medicare program.  
 
These plans can be implemented across all of Medicare without a vote from Congress.  A Biden administration official in charge of the program has said they intend to have all the traditional Medicare beneficiaries in such for-profit programs by 2030.
 
Tom Lux, who lives just north of Seattle and is Treasurer of the 751 Retirement Club, brought the resolution before the Club at its regular business meeting.  Lux worked at the Everett Plant of Boeing and then on the staff of the union’s training and safety program
 
Lux explained that he first spoke with the retiree legislative representative who was fully supportive of the resolution against ACO REACH and agreed to present it, but he was unable to attend the meeting so Lux made the presentation.
 
“I talked about the Medicare direct contracting pilot program that Trump initiated where equity firms and insurance companies could come in and basically buy up clinics and medical facilities and move people over to that private system without having to really notify them or explain to Medicare recipients that they were now in a different system,” Lux told the members.  
 
“I mentioned that there is about $1.6 trillion in the Medicare Trust Fund that these private equity firms and insurance companies are just waiting to get at—to make a profit—and I emphasized that the idea was that they wanted to make a profit off of health care even though people who are in traditional Medicare are there because they don’t want the profit motive in their health system.”
 
 
The Biden administration has announced that the direct contracting entities pilot will be replaced at the end of the year by ACO REACH, a new name for a program that has essentially the same characteristics of bringing private equity and profits between seniors and their physicians.
 
 
“I feel that the Biden administration is getting bad advice,” Lux told the members.  “They basically just tweaked some of the direct contracting language and now call it ACO REACH.  I explained that was an acronym and that pilot will begin in January 2023, if we don’t stop it.  I mentioned that public health advocates across the country see almost no difference between ACO REACH and Trump’s direct contracting that’s basically privatizing the last public health system that we have.”
 
 
Following discussion and some questions which Lux answered, the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the resolution.
 
 
Lux was aware of the issue because he is also a member of the Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA) which has spearheaded an educational program around ACO REACH.  Lux is urging other retiree organizations and unions to pass a resolution and take action to get their congressional delegation to join in opposition to ACO REACH.
 
 
“We have to educate our members on what is going on, and we have to let the administration know that we do not want any type of privatization of traditional Medicare, in fact we should be looking to improve it.  When they say this is an improvement, we do not agree with that assessment at all,” he concluded.
 
 
 

(Please sign the petition to President Biden asking for an end to ACO REACH, and forward any resolutions passed to nursenpo@aol.com so that your action can inspire others.)
 
____________________


(Text of the IAM 751 Retirement Club Resolution)

RESOLUTION TO STOP PRIVATIZING OUR MEDICARE SYSTEM

Whereas, since 1965 Medicare has been our national health care system for seniors and the disabled in the United States; and

Whereas, traditional Medicare holds sacred the relationship between Medicare beneficiaries and their chosen health care provider; and

Whereas, traditional Medicare, is a public good, and should not be privatized; and

Whereas, the Trump administration opened the door to the complete privatization of Medicare through a Direct Contracting pilot program allowing private equity firms, insurance companies, and corporate health businesses to directly contract to provide Medicare services; and

Whereas, the prospect of Wall Street getting a piece of what is projected to be $ 1.6 trillion of annual Medicare spending by 2028 has led to a rush to buy-up Accountable Care Organizations for managing Medicare services; and

Whereas, the Biden administration ended the Direct Contracting pilot and rebranded it as the ACO REACH (Accountable Care Organization Realizing Equity, Access, and Community Health) pilot to begin in January of 2023; and

Whereas, public health advocates across the country see little difference between ACO REACH and the Direct Contracting pilot, since both pilot programs allow third party private entities to wedge themselves between patients and their healthcare providers and to draw down the Medicare Trust Fund by making huge profits in several ways, including weakening services for Medicare beneficiaries; now therefore be it


Resolved, that the 751 Retirement Club goes on record against the privatization of our Medicare system, and for terminating the ACO REACH pilot program, and closing the door on third party entities in our Medicare system; and be it further

Resolved, that the 751 Retirement Club send a copy of this Resolution to our two US Senators and Congressional House members in their jurisdiction, as well as to President Biden and to the Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra.
 
________________
 
Resources:

On the website, www.psara.org, there is a short video on ACO REACH with Seattle Rep. Jayapal, the announcement of a June 29th ACO REACH webinar, petitions to Pres. Biden and the congressional delegation, and a link at the top of the page for ACO REACH resources.  PSARA can be reached by email to the co-presidents, Jeff Johnson & Karen Richter at president@PSARA.org.

There is additional information on the website of Physicians for a National Health Program and @NSPhealthcare.

____________________


Distributed by:
Kay Tillow, Coordinator
All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care
P. O. Box 17595
Louisville, KY 40217
(502) 636 1551
nursenpo@aol.com
Facebook
 
 And here is an update from

The NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees

 

WELCOME!    To the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees Newsletter!


Hello Retirees! 

Today is Friday, June 24th.

Thank you for supporting our work to maintain our benefits!  Michelle and I just closed the Facebook page for the weekend. 

New YouTube videos
  Friday Q&A 6/24

Court Docket: Documents 224-227
Scroll down, and they are at the bottom, then go to page 4 for the last two.

We are still advising retirees to continue opting out as long as the Alliance is accepting opt outs.  This tells the City, "This plan stinks and we don't want it!"  If they ever do bring it back, the city will have to restart the implementation process.  

If you need help please go to our website:  OPT OUT

****************


Your friends, and retirees in SOLIDARITY...

The NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees
 

**************

 Donations are Needed!

TO DONATE TO THE LEGAL FUND

Donation Instructions to Support Our Class Action Suit Against the City To Protect Our Retiree Healthcare:

We worked decades for our benefits! Let’s make sure the City and the MLC don’t take them away!

A suggested $25 Donation* will help start the fight to keep our current benefits. Give more if you can, and/or often!  If you cannot meet the minimum suggested donation, we appreciate whatever you can give towards this fight for our benefits.  We also added the option to make your donation recurring (monthly) as was requested. 

The fundraiser group is incorporated as a Non-Profit. ALL proceeds go to fund the legal challenge. Volunteer retirees are running this effort.  Our 501C3 is pending.

TO DONATE, HERE ARE 4 SIMPLE WAYS!

1.Zelle using email NYCOrgofpublicserviceretirees@gmail.com

2. Make your check out to:
NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees PO Box 941
Venice, FL 34284 (our treasurer lives in FL)

3. Or click on this Paypal link:
https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=Q4VWJEYVJ9HTW&Z3&fbclid=IwAR0pEOc51x9xhc-CBb8vqAIkX97Bgg1Z02f1r9gQh9S3dOsVmAdob5jBbw8

4.  We Now Accept Donations via VENMO

VENMO is a Phone App or can be used on a PC or Tablet.
You can download and install the Phone App from the Android Play Store or Apple App Store. Please follow the instructions to Sign Up. Please read and understand how VENMO works before you donate! There may be fees involved using this method.

Our ID is: @NYCRetirees


If you are on this list, it is because you subscribed to hear what we are doing as an organization that represents all NYC Municipal workers in protecting their Health benefits in retirement.   Currently, we have a FACEBOOK page located here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/888622578669131

If you are not on FACEBOOK, we will be updating you here. And Check our website for FAQ www.nycretirees.org

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