Log in Subscribe

A few of our stories and columns are now in front of the paywall. We at The Chief-Leader remain committed to independent reporting on labor and civil service. It's been our mission since 1897. You can have a hand in ensuring that our reporting remains relevant in the decades to come. Consider supporting The Chief, which you can do for as little as $3.20 a month.

Mayor, keep the city’s promises to its retirees

Posted

Once again, Mayor Eric Adams has chosen to overlook critical facts and components of the Retirees’ Medicare Advantage program he so strongly endorses. Material misrepresentations must not be forgotten or ignored. 

Retirees were told repeatedly that under the mayor’s plan, they would continue to experience unhindered access to treatment and care from any doctor or facility that accepts traditional Medicare, and they could do so without experiencing astronomical out-of-pocket costs. 

Clearly the mayor and his advisors were either misinformed or lack critical insights that would enable them to distinguish traditional Medicare Parts A and B from an inferior privatized, for-profit Medicare Advantage plan.

Facts matter. For instance, 

• NYC municipal retirees earned and were promised traditional Medicare coupled with premium free supplemental coverage.

• Predicated upon promises made to them, NYC retirees have chosen to live throughout the United States.

• Through rigorous standards, the National Cancer Institute identifies Centers of Excellence for cancer screening, treatment and care. These centers are located throughout the United States.

• Most, if not all, NCI Centers of Excellence participate in traditional Medicare Parts A and B.

• Numerous NCI Centers of Excellence do not Participate in Medicare Advantage Plans. Representation made by the mayor’s delegates in regards unhindered access to treatment and care were at best, uninformed.

• If Adams is successful in forcing NYC’s municipal retirees into his Medicare Advantage program, people who sacrificed unselfishly will be irreparably harmed.

• An objective and thorough assessment of efficiencies and cost-savings that could be achieved by combining the greater than 100 independent union welfare funds has not been accomplished.

• If the Municipal Labor Committee, the umbrella organization of city public-sector unions, combined most, if not all, of their welfare funds into one organization, enormous recurring administrative, operating and capital cost savings would occur. To date, the mayor has chosen to ignore this opportunity; instead, he chooses to implement a plan that hurts the most vulnerable among us; the elderly, infirm and disabled. Shame on Mayor Adams.

It is time for the mayor to convene a retiree health care panel to educate and guide him; a panel comprised of objective, knowledgeable, analytical, critical thinking subject matter experts. The president of the New York City Organization for Public Service Retirees, Marianne Pizzitola, and the United Federation of Teachers’ Retired Teachers Chapter’s leader, Bennett Fischer, should be designated as the panel’s co-chairs. 

My mother, Judith A. Weber, who taught at PS 241 in Crown Heights for 26 years,  was a mentor for many. She also was a proud supporter of Albert Shanker, the UFT’s president for two decades, a world-class union leader and a strong believer in the premise that a solid education best positions people for success. 

Mom was adamant that she and her colleagues were unequivocally promised traditional Medicare coupled with premium free supplemental insurance throughout retirement, period. Up until a few days before passing at the age of 97, Mom encouraged me to champion on behalf of all city retirees and especially individuals like her: frail, elderly, infirm individuals who literally did not have the strength to fight for themselves. 

I honor my mother by joining tens of thousands of others who know that facts matter, and understand that promises made, are promises to be kept. 

Matt Weber is a retired manager with NYC Health and Hospitals Corp. and a member of the NYC Managerial Employees Association.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here