COME ON MEMBERS, TIME TO CALL THE CITY COUNCIL, GO TO THE OUR "ACT NOW" PAGE
COME ON MEMBERS, TIME TO CALL THE CITY COUNCIL, GO TO THE OUR "ACT NOW" PAGE
HEY TIME TO CALL THE CITY COUNCIL, GO TO THE
BY CHRIS SOMMERFELDT NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
A bipartisan legislative push is afoot on Capitol Hill to prohibit all U.S. employers from forcing their retired workers into Medicare Advantage coverage — a proposal that could spell trouble for Mayor Adams, who’s trying to mandate the privatized health insurance program for New York City’s
250,000 municipal retirees.
The anti-Advantage effort formally got underway Thursday, when Reps. Nicole Malliotakis and Ritchie Torres, both of whom represent parts of New York City, co-introduced a bill that would amend U.S. Social Security law so that it’d become illegal for “public and private employers” to “involuntarily” shift Medicare-aged retirees into Advantage plans.
Under the legislation, a copy of which was exclusively shared with the Daily News ahead of its introduction, the only way an employer could legally enroll a senior in an Advantage plan is if it secures consent from the person to do so.
Malliotakis, a Republican who represents Staten Island and parts of southern Brooklyn, said the bill is directly aimed at blocking a long-running bid by Adams to switch the city’s municipal retirees into an Advantage plan on the auspice that it’d save the city money on health care costs.
“Mayor Eric Adams broke the city’s commitment to our civil servants,” Malliotakis said of the attempted Advantage switchover. “Our teachers, firefighters, police officers, sanitation workers and other municipal workers did not deserve this bait and switch. Our bipartisan legislation rectifies this injustice by giving them a choice in their earned healthcare benefit.”
Torres, a Democrat who represents a section of the Bronx, did not call out Adams by name like Malliotakis.
But he did say he’s sponsoring the bill after hearing from retired city workers who oppose the Advantage switch over fears the privatized plan would provide inferior coverage compared with traditional Medicare.
“Medicare is how millions of seniors and retirees are able to go to the doctor, get the care they need, and live decent, dignified and healthy lives,” he said. “We must do everything we can to prevent and defend Medicare from being privatized, including preserving the rights of seniors to access the coverage of their choosing. No employer should be able to involuntarily kick retirees off the plan they chose and earned in favor of a private plan they don’t want.”
Adams spokesman Jonah Allon came out guns blazing against the Malliotakis-Torres bill, calling it “a direct attack on collective bargaining and worker rights,” echoing an argument made by the mayor that legislation standing in the way of his Advantage plan could set a problematic precedent for
public sector union negotiations.
“We’d urge Congress to instead work with us to allow unions and employers to work together to provide high-quality health care while providing much needed savings, as we’re doing,” Allon said. “What’s more, a number of states and unions have already switched to providing Medicare Advantage to active and retired employees, and report high rates of satisfaction with the coverage.”
Unlike traditional Medicare — which has typically consisted of the universal federal program and a city-subsidized Medigap supplement for municipal workers — Advantage plans are administered by
private health insurance providers.
A grassroots group composed of thousands of retired city workers say the Advantage plan favored by Adams would dilute their benefits. One of their top concerns has been findings in federal studies that Advantage, due to its privatized structure, can deny plan holders “medically necessary care.”
The advocacy group, the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees, has successfully sued the Adams administration multiple times to block it from implementing its Advantage plan, with judges finding it violates local laws requiring the city to provide its public sector retirees with
premium-free heath care for life.
Most recently, the administration was blocked by a Manhattan Supreme Court judge from having its Advantage plan take effect Sept. 1; the administration is appealing that ruling.
The current structure of Adams’ plan would make Advantage the only health care option available for retired city workers, eliminating even the possibility for them to enroll in traditional Medicare, unless they want to do so on their own on the open market.
An aide to Torres acknowledged that the bill the congressman and Malliotakis are introducing would not be retroactive. That means the bill would not derail Adams’ Advantage plan should he manage to implement it before their legislation potentially passes Congress and is signed
into law on the federal level.
For starters, the bill only has Malliotakis and Torres listed as sponsors. But the Torres aide said the bipartisan nature of the measure out the gate is promising.
“We’re encouraged it’s starting with bipartisan support, and hope to see more members sign on, particularly from [New York City],” the aide told The News.
Adams and the Municipal Labor Committee, which operates as an umbrella group for most of the city’s public sector unions, back Advantage because they say it will generate as much as $600 million in annual health care savings — a sizable sum at a time the city’s projecting massive budget deficits
in coming years.
Adams and labor brass also say the customized Advantage plan they’re advancing, which would be administered by health insurance giant Aetna, should provide retirees with coverage that is up to par
with traditional Medicare.
The Advantage advocacy from Adams and the MLC has drawn
The Torres-Malliotakis bill is the second piece of legislation aimed at preventing Adams from going down the Advantage path.
The first legislative effort is a bill introduced in the City Council. That bill, introduced by socialist Brooklyn Councilman Charles Barron, would enshrine into law that the city government must provide its retirees with at least one premium-free traditional Medicare plan.
Barron’s bill has also earned bipartisan support. As of Thursday, 18 of the Council’s 51 members are listed as co-sponsors of the measure,
Council records show.
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Bobby was our Legislative Guy. Way before the Constitutional Convention was a household word, he brought it up to our Executive Board and got us all to be pro-active against it. And lo and behold the Con-Con was defeated when we all voted NO against it on the ballot. The next Con-Con won't be until 2037.
He also warned about those in power taking away our defined benefits.
Hopefully we will succeed against those forces trying to reduce our Healthcare Benefits. As you can see from the photograph he joins in heaven: Manny Fernandez, Bob Landau, Wilbur Hutchins, Manny Croquez & Frank Lomuscio. The photo was taken 10 years ago when we had our Board Meetings at Koenig's.
Unfortunately we were never notified of his passing. We picked this info up on the Dept Orders (DO 106/23). Bobby was the Manhattan Trustee of the UFA for many years as well as the Sec'y Treasurer. He had a vast knowledge of just about everything that had to do with the job. He will be missed. Please keep him in your prayers...
You should have all received a letter from the Office of Labor Relations, Employee Benefits Program. In it, it shares with you, information regarding the Aetna Medicare Advantage PPO Plan:
IT WILL NOT BE IMPLEMENTED ON 9/1/23.
ALL CURRENT HEALTH PLANS REMAIN IN EFFECT.
NO RETIREE WILL BE MOVED INTO THE NEW AETNA MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PPO PLAN.
NO OPT-OUT REQUESTS MADE THROUGH AETNA VIA THEIR CALL CENTER OR WEBSITE WILL BE PROCESSED AT THIS TIME.
NO WAIVER OF CITY HEALTH BENEFITS, ENROLLMENT INTO THE AETNA MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PPO PLAN OR ADDING THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG RIDER THAT HAS BEEN SUBMITTED ON THE RETIREE SPECIAL ENROLLMENT/WAIVER FORM WILL BE PROCESSED AT THIS TIME.
THE OLR WILL POST UPDATES FOR RETIREES ON ITS' WEBSITE
Her Team needs donations to continue the barrage of Lawsuits she is bringing against the city. She's "ALL IN" for all of us, so step up and help even if its only 25 bucks,
GET IT UP!
Click on the Link below.
THE BILL # IS AS FOLLOWS:
Protecting the health care choice of retired employees of the city of N.Y.
A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to protecting the health care choice of retired employees of the city of New York
This bill would require the City to offer Medicare-eligible city retirees and their Medicare-eligible dependents at least one Medigap plan with benefits equivalent to or better than those available to city retirees and their dependents as of December 31, 2021. The bill would not impair employee organizations from negotiating terms and conditions of employment for their employee members.
CITY COUNCILPERSON CHARLES BARRON (from District 42 in Brooklyn) stood up in the afternoon session of the
Stated Meeting of the NYC Council on Thursday June 22nd, 2023 and introduced into the City Council a Bill which would give Retirees
a 3rd Choice for a Health Care Plan. Beginning July 10th The City would force us into the AETNA Medicare Advantage Plan,
however Judge Frank Lyle still
has to rule on whether the AETNA Plan will be enacted.
He could rule 3 different ways; 1-OK The AETNA Plan, then the Plan would move forward, 2-Call for an Injunction, whereby it would give more time for both sides to argue further or 3-Tell the City to add a Third Plan for retirees to have as a choice. We are hoping that he chooses the 3rd item.
To view Council Member Barron introducing the resolution, click on the following link,
Once there scroll down to the 6/22/23 Stated Meeting,
then click on the VIDEO link.
Once the VIDEO Screen appears move ahead in the video to 1:04, so 1 hour and 4 minutes after the meeting started Councilman Barron introduced the resolution that Marianne Pizzitola and her Team want as a law in the City Charter.
A Great turnout of all different Union Retiree Representatives were there. The crowd estimated at 700 was the best crowd so far.
WAIT AND SEE:
Our next step is to see what the Judge will rule on AND to see if the Bill in the City Council will become a law and then in turn we will ALL have a 3rd Choice for a Health Care Plan.
HERE ARE THE CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS WHO BACKED IT:
PLEASE START CALLING THE OTHER CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS TO CONVINCE THEM TO ALSO BACK IT SO IF THE MAYOR VETOES IT, IT WILL HAVE THE VOTES TO OVERRIDE HIS VETO, GO TO THE ACT NOW PAGE TO VIEW THE PHONE NUMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS WHO NEED TO BE CONTACTED. YOU CAN ALSO CALL THE MEMBERS WHO ALREADY BACK IT AND THANK THEM.
REMEMBER, THIS IS AN ELECTION YEAR FOR ALL OF THE CITY COUNCIL REPS, ELECTION DAY IS 11/7/23, SO IF YOU LIVE IN THE CITY DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!
We are Retired NYC Firefighters of all ranks. We meet five times per year at two locations; 901 Lakeville Road in New Hyde Park and 3051 Nostrand Ave in Brooklyn, NY. Through our Newsletter and this website we hope to keep you informed about your pensions.
Are you passionate about what we're doing? Let us know! We are always looking for volunteers to help us make our organization better for our members. We'll help you find a way to volunteer that best suits you. We're excited to have you join the team!
Whether you help through monetary donations, volunteering your time, or spreading our mission through word-of-mouth, thank you. We couldn't accomplish our goals without the help
of supporters like you.
RETIRED MEMBER'S ASSOCIATION, INC
Fire Department, City of New York
ORGANIZED JANUARY 1ST, 1946
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