Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Who Knew? Turns Out Michael Mulgrew Is the Purveyor of Myth After All

The more I think about Michael Mulgrew declaring bloggers to be purveyors of myth, the angrier I get. I mean, Mulgrew says he doesn't read blogs. I know he isn't on Facebook or Twitter (though he sees no contradiction in asking us to be), I know he can't be bothered answering email, and people tell me he carries a flip phone so as not to even have to consider it.

Nonetheless Mulgrew was horrified when those awful bloggers dared to question his health care plan. And yet, here we are, still standing. A lot of us are wondering what the contract vote would have looked like if our President, who so reviles myth makers, would have told us outright that our co-pays were doubling and tripling. Oh, and by the way, this is just the first year of money saving. We've got three more to go.

Now I'm as impressed as anyone when Arthur Pepper gets up at the DA and tells us how good we have it. After all, they aren't deducting money from your paycheck. Instead, you're paying triple when you go to the ER, and more than triple when you go to the urgent care. You know, those are the ubiquitous places where you go when you have an emergency and don't want to go to the ER. Those are the places that were pretty goshdarn convenient until Mike Mulgrew decided they would cost you fifty bucks a pop.

So what's next? We have no idea. And Mulgrew was certainly not forthcoming with details when selling the contract, or even now. I mean, since co-pays don't mean anything, why not double and triple them again? After all, as long as the money isn't coming from your paycheck, UFT leadership has decreed it must be OK. Unfortunately there is absolutely no guarantee that once the copays start to look too high, the money won't come from your paycheck anyway.

Women have been approaching me and saying this contract is discriminatory since they have to go to gynecologists. Things happen, and they have to pay extra simply because of their sex. Not only that, but there are not a whole lot of these advantage care joints around. There's only one close to me, and evidently it's a part-time doctor office and a part time urgent care. Are the urgent care doctors the same MDs that work there all day? Are they trained in emergency medicine like the great doctors who work the urgent care in my home town? Who knows?

Long Island is a big place, and there are just a handful of these joints. There are 10 OB/GYNs, my friend tells me, and if you live in the Bronx, she says, well, too bad for you. Drive over the bridge to Queens if you don't want to pay. And if you've retired and moved out of the area, well, too bad for you.  

One of the great things about GHI, the reason why my family and I have used it all these years, has been the wide choice of doctors you could have. However, by raising copays for doctors we've been seeing for years and removing them from the few in their preferred network, they're making you pay, and in some cases quite a bit, for exercising your choice.

In fact, they're pretty much urging you to restrict yourself in the same way HIP users have been restricted.  I don't know exactly how much choice HIP users had, but one of the reasons I've never opted my family into HIP was that I wanted to be able to change and choose doctors. Now of course we did get raises in this contract. But our raises, the ones we won't actually get until 2020, don't make me jump up and down. Why should our copays go up by 200% or more immediately when our raises are a fraction of that and don't kick in for years?

Michael Mulgrew makes several times our salaries and has never met a giveback he didn't like. When you get your ballot this week, be sure to let him know how much you like his work by voting MORE/ New Action and sending him back to a classroom. And by the way, Mike, I hope you engage your students a whole lot better than you engage your members.

Otherwise, the Danielson checklist mandates 24 months before 3020a dismissal charges, with the burden of proof on you, just like you negotiated for us.

Thanks to Wendy
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