Friday, January 20, 2023

If It Isn't Good Enough for Everyone, It Isn't Good Enough for Anyone

Today, in my restaurant, I'm serving some great dishes. You can have whatever you like. However, all those other people get potato fudge. What is potato fudge? No one really knows, but it doesn't matter. 

Now some people say they don't want potato fudge. They say it has no nutritional value. They say it's full of chemicals that will make them sterile. They say it will negatively affect their health. It will leave them sluggish and overweight. Well, too bad for them. If they don't want to eat that potato fudge, it will cost them and their partners $5,000 a year. 

That is, until we raise the price, which we can do any time. Once we get rid of the minimum necessary funding, we can make them pay 6, 10, 50, or 100K a year to get them off that potato stuff. The sky's the limit, once we repeal that nasty minimum health payment.

Now of course we aren't really talking about potato fudge. We're talking about Medicare Advantage. Mulgrew says so at the DA, and appears to be barreling forward despite multiple humiliating defeats.

They need to make a deal because their first one fell through. The Municipal Labor Committee, including Mulgrew, had a deal to dump all the retirees into an Advantage plan, to be run by a coalition including Emblem Health. I felt good about that at first. Then, of course, the retirees rose up and the deal was scuttled. Who'd have thunk it? Certainly not anyone at MLC. They failed to anticipate the lawsuit and they failed to familiarize themselves with the law. That smells like potato fudge, or incompetence, but whatever it is, it stinks to high heaven. 

Then they went to Aetna. Aetna, though, is currently under investigation for something or other, and has its roots in selling slave insurance. Not a great look. It came out in the hearings last week. Again, MLC failed to research or anticipate this. They also failed to anticipate that retirees would object to cuts in their health insurance. They aren't precisely thinking ahead, are they?

This has its roots in deals MLC made. In order to secure contracts, they agreed to health savings. It seemed to work in 2014, so they went with it again in 2018. Evidently, they thought it was a very smart move. As the City Council just declined to vote on changing the code guaranteeing us a minimum toward our health care, the move is not looking all that smart right now. 

In fact, let's look at the concept of exchanging health costs for a contract. Is that a great idea? Shouldn't we receive cost of living increases, at least, without giving anything back? MLC seems to believe otherwise. They therefore made that second deal, the one that had them advocating for draconian cuts to retiree health care. (And make no mistake, they're coming for us next.)

Not only that, but they arranged for these cuts to run even after our contract had expired. It seems to me if cuts continue in perpetuity, so should raises. Of course, I'm not among the few, the proud, the people on MLC making deals with no input whatsoever from rank and file. 

I've just given you multiple examples of their abysmal judgment. Do you trust them with your health care?

Perhaps most galling of all is that UFT leadership arranged for highly-compensated former officers to state that they needed a "choice" of standard health care for exorbitant fees. I heard someone with cancer spoke to say standard Medicare was necessary. The fact is anyone can get cancer. I've had it. The fact is that not just anyone can afford the extra fees MLC wants us to pay for the care we've expected all our careers. 

Medicare Advantage, evidently, is not good enough for elite, privileged former UFT officers. It's not good enough for people with cancer. We all know it's not good enough for anyone living outside the coverage area. We also know that most of our country is outside that area, and that people on a fixed income, like retirees, might just need to move someplace cheaper than the NYC area.

We are union. If Medicare Advantage isn't good enough for everyone (including ex-UFT officers collecting double pensions funded by our dues), it isn't good enough for anyone. 

It's disgraceful, outrageous, and unconscionable that our union leaders muster the audacity to claim otherwise.

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