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To the editor:
A proposed amendment to the city’s administrative code debated by a City Council committee Monday would impact health care for city retirees going forward.
Henry Garrido, the president of the DC 37, testified that "sometimes you must take actions which aren't popular.” Gloria Middleton, the president of Communication Workers Local 1180, testified that the Municipal Labor Committee has been working non-stop since 2014 with the city to enact health care savings.
The city comptroller last year released a report showing how the city could save money by better administering unions’ welfare funds, which are funded by the city but administered by unions. Some carry high reserves while "expending 20% lower than average amounts for benefits.” Consolidating welfare funds is not a popular option with union presidents but if it saves administrative costs, why not? If the MLC is working "non-stop,” why hasn't there been any movement to protect healthcare delivery and cost savings by consolidating over 70 welfare funds.
Harry Nespoli, the chairman of the MLC, sadly has not met with the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees, which is going to bat for tens of thousands of city retirees. All affected parties must be represented beyond just the Tripartite Committee examining health care costs before decisions are made.
Why have the MLC, the OLR and the city not entertained "self insuring" health benefits, which some have estimated would save over $1 billion a year. Many other municipalities and companies save enormous "risk charges" that are enjoyed by insurers at our expense It's time for the MLC to really begin to work "non-stop" and find other actions that aren't popular. Reasonable savings can be achieved while protecting health care.
Neither Council members nor retirees have seen the fine print of the city's proposed Medicare Advantage plan agreement with private provide Aetna. The more than 200 retirees who offered testimony had more questions than answers. The Municipal Labor Committee and the Office of Labor Relations must work towards transparency.
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