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Key City Council Hearing on Monday, January 9

James Davis: An Urgent Request on NYC Health Benefits

January 4, 2023

January 4, 2023

Dear PSC members and retirees,

Happy New Year! I am writing with another update on New York City health benefits and an urgent request.

The City Council has scheduled a critical vote on changing the NYC Administrative Code. This change would clear the path for the City to implement a Medicare Advantage plan and to charge monthly premiums of roughly $200/month to retirees who opt to remain enrolled in Senior Care. The proposed Administrative Code change is being introduced this week, the City Council Civil Service and Labor Committee will hold a public hearing on January 9, and the Council will vote on January 19. The PSC continues to push for an alternative solution to the problem of rising health care costs, and the City Council needs to hear from PSC members that our proposal is worth supporting. Click here for a phone script and an email message to key elected officials, including your City Council representative. Please use one or preferably both methods of contact. Also, please consider providing testimony at the January 9 hearing by registering here.

The Adams administration and the arbitrator issuing recommendations on this matter claim that the only alternatives are to eliminate choice of health care plans for retirees or to charge premiums to active employees and to retirees who wish to retain Senior Care as supplemental Medicare coverage. These alternatives break from many decades of past practice. City employees have been led to expect premium-free health benefits during their service and in retirement. A privately administered Medicare Advantage plan would be premium-free but would require more pre-authorizations and would also likely have a more restricted provider network. We are asking that the City Council and the Mayor reject the false choice between forcing retirees into a Medicare Advantage plan or imposing premiums on active employees or retirees, and that they instead embrace a sustainable, forward-thinking solution.

Our proposal offers the City Council something to say Yes to, not merely to say No to the Administrative Code change. It boils down to a few key steps that the Adams administration and the Council should take: (a) Redirect funds the City holds in reserve to bridge the Municipal Labor Committee Stabilization Fund for three years, (b) Create a stakeholders commission charged with finding a path to control health care spending, with hospital pricing as a priority, and (c) Develop a sustainable mechanism for funding City health insurance.

It is important that your City Council representative hear from you, and that the Speaker of the City Council, Adrienne Adams, and the Chair of the Civil Service and Labor Committee, Carmen De La Rosa, also hear from you. It is not too late for Council members to assert their authority and legislate a better path forward.

In solidarity,
James Davis

Published: January 5, 2023

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