To the Editor: It was widely reported that Mike Bloomberg spent a half billion dollars in roughly three months' time during his failed presidential bid in late 2019 and early 2020. At the time, it made me wonder just how much private health insurers were spending to convince seniors to trade in their Medicare for Medicare Advantage (MA), because I saw Joe Namath pushing MA on TV just as often as I saw Mike Bloomberg pushing his candidacy.
The only difference has been that Mayor Mike bowed out on March 4, 2020 and Broadway Joe is still going strong. In fact, he has been joined by Joan Lunden, Jimmy "JJ" Walker, Joe Theisman, Bill Engvall and a host of other celebrities giving Medicare Advantage the hard sell, every day on every network and cable channel. It is nearly impossible to watch TV for an hour without seeing 5 or more of these deceptively named Medicare "Helpline" ads.
This should give everyone pause and have us asking questions. Such as, doesn't all that advertising eat into what is spent on patient care? And, how can the addition of a middleman improve service or bring down costs?.
These are particularly important questions now, as the city and the Municipal Labor Committee have apparently bought into this hard sell. If there is one thing I have learned over my 67 years, it is that when someone spends a lot of money on something, they expect to get even more in return. I, for one, have no intention of having them profit on me.
Retired 28-year DOT Employee
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