Tuesday, December 27, 2022


It seems strange that Michael Mulgrew continues to attempt to ram through Medicare Advantage (Mulgrewcare) after two courts with six judges ruled that it is illegal to charge premiums to NYC municipal retirees who want to stay on traditional public Medicare. Daniel Alicea over at Educators of NYC has done some research along with Illinois retired teacher unionist Fred Klonsky to show that privatizing Medicare to get the insurance companies richer is not just a local issue but NYC is up against a huge, national Medicare privatization push that the AFT endorses.

From Fred's Substack:

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers is among those pushing for New York public employees, including retired public school teachers, into the for-profit private insurance plan that is supposed to cover what regular Medicare does not.

Medicare Advantage plans have come under greater scrutiny and criticism in recent years for over-charging the government and denying coverage for medically necessary treatments.

When MA programs came on the market they were sold as a way to save government money. Now they do just the opposite.

But is Mulgrew and the UFT leadership acting alone or are they pursuing a large agenda of their parent union, the American Federation of Teachers and its president, Randi Weingarten?

Daniel Alicea has looked up Randi's 2019 position and noticed a change came about by 2020.

Randi in Politico, August 2019 endorsing single-payer Medicare for All:

“Wouldn’t it be great if we had a single, universal access point for health care and we could instead spend our time bargaining for lower class sizes and wrap around services and increases to people’s pay?” said Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers, which endorsed Medicare for All earlier this year. “Wouldn’t it be great it if it wasn’t always dominated by health care fights?”

Randi then flip-flops and this is the AFT's 2020 position:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will work to achieve universal coverage by the year 2025, whether through single payer or private insurance with a public option, so that all patients have coverage for timely access to the care they need, treating healthcare as a public good, and will consider a different payment system model that promotes value and coordination in care delivery; and...

Notice how private insurance is part of the AFT mix now.  I don't think Randi was ever passionate about Medicare for All but the 2020 resolution mixing in public and private fits right in with what the Municipal Labor Committee is attempting to do here in NYC by privatizing retiree Medicare.

To move this up two years, this is from libertarian Mike Antonucci's report on the 2022 AFT Convention:

A committee did not concur with a resolution to oppose the privatization of Medicare, for reasons I can only assume are related to the UFT’s involvement in moving retired New York City teachers into Medicare Advantage plans.

It is clear that the UFT-AFT are as usual loyal appendages of the Democratic Party where it is donor's first and traditional Medicare is now projected to become a minority plan for seniors by 2025.

A major problem with this policy is there is a major inconsistency when it comes to privatizing healthcare but not schools. How are the unions going to oppose the privatization of public education through charter schools and vouchers when we are supporting privatization in retiree healthcare through Medicare Advantage?


Pete Zucker said...

Mulgrew must be getting kickback. That's seems like only and most logical explanation.

Bronx ATR said...

Well it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Mulgrew gets all his strings pulled by Randi Weingarten. Same as always, since day one that he took office. He doesn’t really have the intelligence to come up with an original idea on his own or a plan of action for anything. The question shouldn’t be what’s in it for him. What I would be asking is what’s in it for Randi Weingarten? She only does things that personally help her achieve some overreaching ambition that she has internalized. Perhaps these healthcare companies are financing some arm of the democratic party towards the next election and she’s been promised, again, a cabinet position. Someone should ask her why she flip-flopped and why she’s pushing Medicare Disadvantage. I guarantee you she’ll give the same response, word for word, that Mulgrew is giving.
That’s a great point about the privatization of schools. If the Uft and AFT are pushing for the privatization of Medicare they really can’t say a word about privatization of schools via charters. Will that stop them? No, I don’t think so. I think eventually we will see the Uft and the AFT embrace charter schools in highly regimented style. They’ll get an agreement to unionize them and/or re-introduce their own brand of charter schools. The UFT is a mere shadow of the AFT, which is a sham and a shame.