ATRs, the unrepresented -- no elected representatives in the UFT

"The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected.
"To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another."
Thomas Paine, First Principles of Government

Sunday, May 14, 2023

NYC Retirees’ Struggle to Save Traditional Medicare is a National Fight

From Work-Bites, March 22, 2023:

Retirees that have tried Medicare Advantage are not happy with it, probably owing to the denials of service / coverage.
Studies show disenrollments from Medicare Advantage plans are, indeed, on the rise — up from 10 percent in 2017 to 17 percent in 2021. The Kaiser Family Foundation [KFF] also finds that over two million prior authorization requests were denied that same year — with only 11 percent appealed.

Read the entire post here on the betrayal of the New York City municipal retirees by their unions and elected officials of both parties. The article discusses how this attack on Medicare access is a national fight. The article focuses on struggles in New York, Vermont and Washington state. Many of the activists in the New York City area that you've heard of and experts that you may not have heard of.

NYC Retirees’ Struggle to Save Traditional Medicare is a National Fight

Among the organizations and their activists cited: Cross-Union Retirees Organizing Committee [CROC], New York City Organization of Public Service Retirees [NYCOPSR]; and then, several in the Seattle, Puget Sound, Washington area.

Another important set of quotes and information on how this disaster of federally sanctioned denial of medical care --all for corporate profit-- worsened:

At 90, Dr. Leonard Rodberg, professor emeritus of Urban Studies at Queens College in New York City is one of the fiercest opponents of Democratic Mayor Eric Adams’ relentless drive to Medicare Advantage. Nevertheless, the veteran academic says he’s willing to accept labor leaders supportive of the privatization scheme are “principled, honorable people” who simply believe “Medicare Advantage is good because Aetna tells them this is good as SeniorCare [Medicare].”

“It’s just a lie — and they bought it,” Dr. Rodberg says.

Johnson maintains bigwigs from both the Republican and Democratic parties have been pushing healthcare for a long time, and that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has become a “revolving door for the insurance industry.”

He’s critical of Dr. Elizabeth Fowler — deputy administrator and director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation and former executive vice-president of programs at the Commonwealth Fund and vice-president for Global Health Policy at Johnson & Johnson — for her role in crafting the Senate version of the Affordable Care Act [ACA] while acting as Chief Health Counsel to Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus [D-MT].

“She is largely responsible for the fact that we don’t have the ability to negotiate over prescription drugs; why there was not a public option within the ACA; and she has been in the insurance industry,” Johnson says.

A “small, little paragraph” within the “humungous” ACA bill, Johnson points out, allows for “different forms of providing Medicare without Congressional approval.”

“That’s how ACO REACH or prior to that, Direct Contact under the Trump administration, came about,” Johnson says. “It was, ‘We’re gonna open up Medicare to Wall Street and Congress can’t take it away from us.’”

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