Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Michael Mulgrew Is the Fearmonger-in-Chief

At left, you can see Unity's new campaign against those of us standing against further degradation of our health care. Their rationale for calling us fearmongers is that there will be premium-free health care. However, no one I know has claimed otherwise, ever.

Well, that's not strictly true. I know of one person who threatened UFT members with premiums. That would be UFT President Michael Mulgrew. He sent us an email in late October, and here's what it said:

The city’s Office of Labor Relations sent a letter to the head of the Municipal Labor Committee giving the unions notice of its intent to enroll all Medicare‑eligible city retirees in a NYC Medicare Advantage plan and eliminate all other retiree health plans, including GHI SeniorCare. If the unions don’t go along with it, the city has threatened annual health care premiums of roughly $1,500 for all in‑service municipal employees

Mulgrew was trying to get us to support amending Administrative Code 12-126. He suggested that if we didn't manage to do so, we'd get stuck with these premiums. Then UFT urged us all to post tweets demanding that 12-126 be revised. This would have allowed the city to continue offering GHI Senior Care for those who could afford it, like retired UFT officials who collect two pensions. And in fact, altering it would have opened the door for all kinds of cheap programs Mulgrew and Adams could have foisted upon us.

But guess what? The City Council refused to alter 12-126. And guess what else? You are NOT paying premiums for your health insurance. Now fearmongering is when you threaten people for no good reason. Given that Mulgrew threatened us with premiums if we didn't alter 12-126, given it was not altered, and given we don't pay premiums, at least so far, there's only one person we can persuasively accuse of fearmongering.

That person is UFT President Michael Mulgrew.

What we are saying is that our health care is being degraded, becoming more costly, and we've had enough. A Unity rep, paid with our dues money, might tell you there are no new copays, and that's true. However, it's true because virtually every procedure you have already carries a copay. What else are they going to attach a copay to? Breathing?

Mulgrew does not want to talk about the fact that copays have skyrocketed. It used to cost 15 bucks to visit an urgent care. Then it became 50. And then it became 100. Maybe some are still 50, but I have no idea where. There's an Advantage Care one near me. I went there once, when my daughter hurt her leg, and there were 20 people in front of me. A rep asked me what the matter was, told me we'd wait hours, and that they had no x-ray machine. I drove a few blocks and paid City MD 50 bucks (which would now be 100).

Now Mulgrew is arguing that his opponents are Tucker Carlson. A big thing propagandists do is project their own shortcomings on others. How many people has Donald Trump called crooks? Pretty much anyone and everyone who disagrees with him. It's very tough to argue Mulgrew isn't doing exactly the same here.

No one's arguing that the Medicare Advantage Mulgrew is imposing into carries a premium. We're arguing that there are fewer doctors will accept this plan than will accept standard Medicare. We're arguing that there are procedures that require approval that don't need it under standard Medicare. We're arguing that Aetna has every motivation to deny as many procedures as possible to maximize their profit. We're looking at those who've had this very experience with Aetna.

And no, we don't believe that we're going to find care equal or superior to that of non-profit GHI/ Emblem for 10% less. In fact, many of us have lost doctors because GHI pays them so little. I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear Mulgrew is looking at Aetna to insure us all. And I don't trust Michael Mulgrew to save money for us, as opposed to Eric Adams. I don't trust him to put a halt to skyrocketing co-pays. Experience, not fearmongering, suggests he will do no such thing.

I also don't trust Michael Mulgrew to negotiate a good deal. Another thing he and his Unity BFFs don't say is that Mulgrew made a 2018 deal to save Eric Adams 600 million dollars a year forever in order to get a contract that hovered around inflation for three years. There ought to be no givebacks for a contract that meets inflation, because it's not a raise. But our contract's expired, and we still owe Eric Adams. We will owe him forever due to a deal Mulgrew made without our input, and that's why Mulgrew's messing with our insurance.

And FWIW, we wouldn't need to discuss this at all if we'd support and pass the NY Health Act. But Mulgrew says that would hurt us, and refuses to negotiate a workaround with its sponsors.Who's the fearmonger?

People who originally posted the picture above are members of the elite, invitation only Unity Caucus. Unity emailed them and told them to. They're almost certainly on UFT payroll. And let me tell you something--getting ahead in that union gig is a strong motivation for them to go along and post this baseless, ad hominem nonsense. Maybe they need the extra cash. Or maybe they don't want to come back to classrooms and do the real work. Regardless, the fact that they can't muster a decent argument suggests they're wrong. Don't trust them, and don't trust Michael Mulgrew.

Trust yourself. And sign this petition demanding a vote on your health care before Mulgrew tosses us to the dogs, just as he did to our retirees.

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