We predicted how yesterday's UFT Retiree Town Hall would function.
This is what this blog said on Monday:
UFT Town Halls in the age of COVID-19 are basically like call-in radio shows. President Mulgrew gives a lengthy monologue saying whatever the UFT is doing at the present time is the greatest thing ever and then some screened questions are allowed. The questions usually start with something like: "Hi Michael, thank you for the wonderful, amazing job you are doing..." My wife and some friends have tried to get through and have never had a challenging question answered live by Mulgrew.
We were almost completely on target. Yesterday at the Town Hall for Retirees, Mulgrew gave a long speech saying how switching from traditional Medicare to the Municipal Labor Committee's Medicare Advantage would be the greatest healthcare system in the country. We're calling the privatized system that could be coming soon "Mulgrewcare" although all Medicare-eligible NYC municipal retirees, not just UFTers, will be part of the program if it goes through.
The Mulgrewcare pledge: Under Mulgrewcare, retired city employees are being promised the same or better health benefits at the same price as now with the same reimbursements for Part B. Better still, the savings we get from this privatized benefits program would come back to us through the health stabilization fund. Whatever insurance provider that wins the contract will get more money from the federal government only if we consumers are satisfied. Does this sound too good to be true?
After Mulgrew finished selling the program, there were the softball questions coming one after another. I was not entirely correct in my forecast, however, as one rather difficult query did get through that of course Mulgrew could not adequately answer.
Bennett Fisher asked: What is to stop doctors who do currently take traditional Medicare from not accepting this plan at their discretion?
Mulgrew Answer: The fact is most doctors accept Medicare because there are federal and state incentives for them. That would be a problem even if we stay in our same plan. If something like that were ever to occur, if it is on a small scale, we would use all of our abilities and whatever companies we are working with to get that fixed. If it is a large scale, then it becomes a legislative issue at a state or federal level.
Mulgrew offered no guarantee that doctors will take Mulgrewcare.
This is from eHealth:
Medicare Advantage plan networks must include hospitals, dialysis centers, primary care physicians, specialists, and other health-care professionals and suppliers.
However, Medicare Advantage plans don’t have to contract with every Medicare provider in their area. Instead, they contract with Medicare providers who agree to coordinating patient care, improving the quality of patient care, and accepting the Medicare Advantage plan’s reimbursement schedules and administrative rules.
To be fair, my guess is Mulgrew will be right for the majority of NYC retirees since 250,000 city retirees is such a large pool of patients so most doctors would continue to take the city's privatized Mugrewcare. However, if doctors are receiving less of a reimbursement or slower payments from the privatized insurer, who knows? There is no certainty.
As for the long term, I would still like my two questions from yesterday answered:
Medicare Advantage or part C is privately run healthcare. If 250,000 NYC retirees go from a public into a privatized program, don't we run the risk of weakening traditional Medicare significantly which will make it less likely that we will get Medicare for all in the long run which is what we should be striving for and that is the only way to really control prices?
Also, I may have attempted to sneak this in:
How are we going to be opposed to privatizing schools (charters-vouchers) when we are privatizing our own healthcare?
If 250,000 city retirees are strengthening the current United States privately run healthcare system that Mulgrew conceded is out of control in terms of costs, then Mulgrewcare is bound to fail in the long run. One retiree I spoke to today said he recommends that people buy health insurance company stocks. Insurance companies will be the big winners if 250,000 NYC retirees are pushed into privatized Mulgrewcare.