There is plenty of encouraging news in the fight to preserve choices of premium free healthcare for City workers and retirees but the fight is not nearly over.
An appeals court ruled 5-0 that the City cannot charge premiums for GHI Senior Care because the cost of this Medicare supplemental plan does not exceed the HIP-HMO rate. City Administrative Code 12-126 guarantees free healthcare up to that rate for City workers and retirees. Here are excerpts from the decision of the appellate court upholding the original lower court decision that were in a Chief article:
“The court correctly determined that Administrative Code § 12-126 (b) (1) requires respondents to pay the entire cost, up to the statutory cap, of any health insurance plan a retiree selects. ”
Any plan a retiree selects means retirees have a choice of health plans as I read this.
"[n]othing in the statutory text or history supports respondents’ interpretation that the provision is satisfied so long as they pay for the costs of one of the health insurance plans offered to retirees, which they have determined to be the Medicare Advantage Plus Plan."
Michael Mulgrew and other city union labor leaders are now trying to double-down on going around the courts by having their rank and file call City Council Members to get the City Council to vote to change 12-126 so the City can offer a cut rate privatized Medicare Advantage plan (Mulgrewcare) and then make everyone who doesn't want the cut-rate plan have to pay up for something better. This change would likely not just affect retirees but active workers would also probably have to settle for a cut-rate premium-free plan or pay to keep what they have now.
A number of unions see through the Mulgrewcare scam and are urging members to call and tell the City Council not to change 12-126. These enlightened unions want to preserve the guarantees that are a part of city law. These unions come from across the political spectrum.
This came our way from the Retired Lieutenants Association:
Below is part of an email from the President of the Professional Staff Congress, James Davis, who also opposes changing the Code:
"As you know, the PSC was among the few MLC unions that voted against the proposed Administrative Code change, and we continue to oppose it. PSC members have sent nearly 5,000 letters to City Council representatives - send yours today if you have not done so already."
Call your Council Member. Tell them not to change 12-126.
Full disclosure, I am a proud PSC member as well as being a member of the UFT and my brother is a member of the NYPD Captain's Endowment Association who also oppose changing 12-126. We differ on a number of issues but as City retirees, my brother and I agree on preserving 12-126.