Friday, March 11, 2022

deBlasio and Mulgrew Cannot Shaft NYC Retirees


 There have been some interesting developments concerning Mulgrew’s lies and trickery. The courts have handed him and de Blasio a big “F you”, courtesy of a lawsuit from retired teachers. The last video that I posted had an interesting comment that struck a chord. The presenter said, ‘The only way anyone could say that Medicare advantage is better than Medicare is if they were getting paid for it.’ It makes one consider the full ramification of that comment in regards to Mulgrew - a UFT President that has worked directly against his constituencies. It’s time for all teachers to vote Mulgrew out once and for all. What follows is a wonderful article from ‘The Chief’. I recommend that you all subscribe, as you are not getting any pertinent information from the ‘New York City Teacher’ - a rag of a propaganda Unity paper.

“Higher payments for opt-out illegal

By RICHARD STEIER

A Manhattan Supreme Court Justice has ruled that the NYC Medicare Advantage Plus plan scheduled to take effect April 1was illegal as constituted because it placed a greater financial burden on retirees who elected to stay in the current Senior Care program by making them pay  $191 monthly for doing so.

Justice Lyle Frank stated in his four-page decision issued March 3 that the city was required under its Administrative Code to "pay the entire cost of health insurance coverage for city employees, city retirees and their dependents, not to exceed one hundred percent of the full cost  of H.I.P.-H.M.O. on a category basis," referring to the basic city health-coverage standard.

'The Sword is Gone'

An attorney for the 4,000-member Organization of Public Service Retirees, Steven Cohen, said shortly after the ruling was issued, "The sword that the city held over retirees is now gone," referring to the financial pressure they would have felt to participate in the new program rather than face $2,300 in annual costs under the monthly charge.

Mayor Adams withheld comment on the ruling regarding the deal negotiated by his predecessor with the Municipal Labor Committee, but late March 4 city Corporate Counsel Sylvia Hinds-Radix said in a statement that the city "filed a notice of appeal today and is seeking a stay on the court's decision while the appeal is considered." 

But the United Federation of Teachers reacted by withdrawing its support for the Medicare Advantage Plus plan, which had been expected to save the two sides $600 million annually in health-care costs.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew had previously joined with MLC Chairman Harry Nespoli, who is also president of the Uniformed Sanitationmen's Association, in acknowledging that a key reason for the deal was that it would free additional money for union contract negotiations. Both had noted that for two decades employee raises had been limited because of soaring health-care costs.

In a statement that took a swipe at city attorneys, Mr. Mulgrew said, "While the NYC Medicare Advantage Plus plan is sound, the program has suffered from serious implementation problems and poor legal arguments, particularly on the part of the city."

Urges MLC to Hold Off

He continued, "Our retirees deserve better," and said the union would urge the M:C "to suspend its efforts to begin the program until all the implementation and legal issues are resolved."

Mr. Nespoli said in a phone interview the following morning, "We have to see what the city's going to do, whether they're going to appeal [the ruling] or not. Why would we move forward if we don't know where we're going?"

He contended that "the retiree group really doesn't understand the benefits of Medicare Advantage," saying that the plan devised under the agreement between the city and the MLC "is a very good program. The plan could save money while being in a position to help retirees and active members."

Mr. Nespoli said he expected to convene a meeting of MLC officers over the next week, because "we have to evaluate what happened" before deciding on a course of action.

Retirees' Attorney Elated 

"I guess you can beat City Hall after all," Mr. Cohen said in a phone interview, praising the "energy and dedication" the retiree group devoted to its drive against the plan, which it launched last spring, prior to a final agreement being reached on the new program in mid-July by the de Blasio administration and the MLC.

City and union officials found themselves responding to retiree concerns that Medicare Advantage plans in other jurisdictions had not been better than traditional Medicare, restricted retirees' choice of doctors and imposed additional out-of-pocket charges. They insisted that in designing a plan that would offer additional savings, they had nonetheless produced a program that would be equal to or slightly better than the current Senior Care for municipal retirees who were 65 or older.

Many retirees were skeptical, however: according to Mr. Cohen, more than 50,000 from a group of roughly 250,000 had opted out prior to Justice Frank's ruling. The $191-per-month charge for those choosing to stay in Senior Care was viewed as the city's way of using a disincentive for staying in to get the great majority of retirees to switch to NYC Medicare Advantage Plus.

Judge: Can't Be Unequal

Justice Frank said that under his reading of the Administrative Code, the city wasn't required to give retirees a choice of plans, and if the cost of a plan exceeded the prescribed amount, officials could "pass along the cost above the threshold to the retiree, [but] if there is to be an option of more than one plan, that the respondent may not pass any cost of the prior plan to the retirees." He wrote that it was his understanding that Senior Care did not exceed the threshold. 

For that reason, he said, he was permanently barring the city from "passing along any costs of the New York City retirees' current plan to the retiree or to any of their dependents," and that all retirees were required to pay just a single deductible for the remainder of this year.

Mr. Cohen said the Mayor could salvage the new program "and still save $300 million through a negotiation." It was not clear, however, that the city and the unions could work out an acceptable alternative.

However necessary savings in health-care costs were, he said, "You can't do it on the backs of retirees. They can't do it legally, and they can't do it ethically."

The retirees' attorney continued, "Everybody knew [Medicare Advantage Plus] wasn't better" than Senior Care. "It was like trying to put lipstick on a pig."

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Medicare Advantage? No Way, Mulgrew

 What follows is a video on YouTube from a guy who used to sell Medicare Advantage. For the most part it is concise and full disclosure he now sells supplemental insurance for Medicare. Some of what he explains is quite startling and I think unknown by many people - especially those of us that are being sold this lousy plan by the UFT. Make your own decision and please vote Mulgrew out of office once and for all.

https://youtu.be/hrkbOjBtBsw

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Why are Doctors Refusing Pain Meds to Patients who are Recovering from Surgeries, ( or have chronic pain or are terminally ill)?

                                                

  Hopefully everything is going well with your health, but recently I’ve had several friends who have had surgeries, and two that have been in chronic pain for years. All of them have been refused pain meds. These aren’t teenagers I’m talking about - they are men in their mid to late 60s. My buddies who are in chronic pain have never had a problem with their pain meds, but have been summarily pulled off them. I asked my doctor about it and he said that most doctors are now just too afraid to prescribe pain medication. My doctor told me that one of his patients (that has tremendous chronic pain) has taken to buying street drugs and even more troubling he’s heard of some ‘suiciding’ from the combination of pain and withdrawals. He told me many doctors haven’t been prescribing pain med for several years. The prescription rate for pain meds is currently at a ten year low, but you wouldn’t know that from reading the papers or watching the Netflix show, Dope Sick Nation. The media is screaming that more people died from opioid overdoses during the pandemic, than from Covid. This proclamation often accompanies a picture of pills and pharmaceutical company names. What you may not hear is how litigation lawyers are lining up and see this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to strike it rich. They are suing everyone from doctors to the local pharmacist. The pharmaceutical companies are the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Elderly, sick or dying people are just collateral damage for these lawyers. 

   You might be thinking, ‘well, why shouldn’t they sue - so many people are overdosing from opioids!’ They are indeed overdosing from opioids, (one particular opioid) but not from prescription pills that have been prescribed. Less than 1% of people who are prescribed opiates develop a problem and/or overdose. The folks that are overdosing are overdosing from fentanyl. They are by and large solely recreational drug users. Seven middle-age men in my neighborhood, which is overrun with bars, have overdosed using cocaine - but it wasn’t the cocaine that did them in. Fentanyl is now being put into everything from marijuana to heroin to cocaine. It’s extremely cheap and is being imported via the US mail from China. It is also being imported in bulk to Mexico, for sale here. This is a huge problem that really isn’t being addressed correctly. Add it to the fact that innocent people are suffering. I’ve included a link that discusses the situation in depth.   https://youtube.com/watch?v=73HQ-t3j5vc&feature=share   Peace.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Good Riddance, Cuomo !!!

      Oh happy days are here again! There is some justice in the world! The narcissistic and completely corrupt governor of New York State is out, as of midnight! I am thrilled and hope this indicates a change in our collective fortunes, in that things may start to get better for all of us. I’m on my way across the Tappan Zee Bridge. (Mario, I respected you, but your son went about changing that bridge’s name illegally - and that was the least of his crimes.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Cuomo


  It certainly seems as if our old friend Andrew Cuomo will be getting another pass for his numerous misdeeds. How is this possible? He is directly responsible for 15,000 deaths. Worse than that, for our Cancel Culture Republic, he has been publicly revealed as a serial sexual harasser by the very women who have worked for him, with him or around him. Teachers and union members have long been the foil of his smarmy assaults on our income and careers. He has no moral compass or static belief system. Marijuana was once a gateway drug, but now should be legalized because it will gain him popularity. Partial birth abortion, a heinous procedure, is something to be protected, for the women he claims he cares and respects so deeply. Perhaps, he’s hoping that one day one of his conquered lust interests may use it, instead of his potential child support. Well, you get my point. This is a guy who is despicable in every aspect of his life, personality and political career. This is a guy who hates teachers. This is a guy who wants to replace public schools with charter schools. This is a guy who has set up his own investigatory procedure, which will drag out indefinitely and which will assuredly be dismissed, without an impeachment. Has Andrew Cuomo sold his soul to the devil? Perhaps. And perhaps the devil is keeping his bargain. Will Andrew Cuomo be President of the United States one day? I sure hope not.

Remarkably or maybe not so, this is a guy that the UFT will not speak ill of. Why? The
UFT should do the right thing and make a strong statement against sexual harassment and a no-confidence vote on Andrew Cuomo’s continued tenure as NYS governor. It would prove that the UFT still has some legitimacy, has some weight in its public statements and hasn’t sold its collective soul as well.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Repost 7/9/18 - Andy is Looking for Your Vote

 It seems as if the UFT and some teachers have forgotten what Cuomo is. Here’s a reminder.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Andy is Looking for Your Vote 

                                                                


     As you probably know Cynthia Nixon will be running against Andy Cuomo this November. It seems that many, many teachers have forgotten his atrocious attacks on public schools and public school teachers. (This forgetfulness is known as the halo effect. It's occurs when more recent behavior counteracts repeated long term behavior - our students intuitively use this against us about a month before report card grades are imputed.) Let's review them. Cuomo stated in his 2015 inaugural address that the key to education reform was teacher evaluation. He said they were flawed because so many students were failing and so many teachers were rated effective. In other words, a scapegoat was needed and public school teachers were going to be it. Cuomo has not been a friend to public schools, teachers or students. His current promises should not be given any credence, especially if the UFT endorses him. He will turn on us quicker than a rattlesnake. I will, of course, be voting for Cynthia Nixon.

       Here are some more reminders of Andy attacks from the NYSUT https://www.nysut.org/news/nysut-united/issues/2015/february-2015/nysut-blisters-cuomos-draconian-anti-teacher-agenda referencing Cuomo's agenda :
  • Dramatically increasing the state's role in teacher evaluations and stripping away local control. The weight of state tests would increase from 20 percent to 50 percent. And, in a stunning lack of trust for all district professionals, the governor would mandate that the other half be at least two observations, with one conducted by a so-called "independent observer" - a principal or administrator from outside or within the district, a SUNY/CUNY professor or a "trained independent evaluator" from a State Education Department list.
  • Gutting teacher tenure. Cuomo wants teachers to remain on probationary status until they receive five consecutive "effective" ratings on their teacher evaluation. A single "developing" rating could derail a teacher's professional path. In reality, it would negate tenure and keep re-setting the clock.
  • Raising the cap on charter schools by 100 (to 560) and ending regional caps to make the number a statewide tally. New York City has 24 charter slots remaining under the existing system. Cuomo would also increase per-pupil funding for charters by $75.
  • Giving SED the power to put failing schools or even districts into receivership, with broad powers, further eroding local control. Cuomo called for appointing nonprofit groups, school-turnaround experts, or other school districts to oversee schools that have fallen on the state's lowest performing list for three years. The law would give "receivers" the authority of local superintendents, allowing them to restructure schools, overhaul curricula and offer salary incentives. It would undercut collective bargaining agreements and contracts.
  • Renewing mayoral control of New York City schools. He encouraged other cities to apply for mayoral control as well.
  • Amending the 3020-a hearing process for "poor performance," creating a presumption in favor of administrators; teachers would have to prove their evaluation score was fraudulent.
  • Offering $20,000 merit pay to teachers who are "legitimately rated highly effective.


Thursday, December 17, 2020

Understanding the Potential Dangers of DNA Tests and COVID-19 Testing



 If you’re like me you have probably been tested multiple times for COVID-19. Each time it came back negative, until the last time - I’m still waiting. It’s now over two weeks and I was just told it was lost.  I most definitely had (or perhaps still have) the virus. All during that time I felt I was hit by a truck, couldn’t smell or taste anything and was having trouble breathing. I kept telling myself I was OK because I didn’t get back a positive test result. It wasn’t until I was eating sliced watermelon from a container that I admitted it. My daughter was screaming at me that the watermelon stunk to high heavens and to stop eating it. Thankfully, for the past two days, I’ve been great. I’ve been reading the papers and blogs, and trying to do some Christmas shopping on line. 

My daughter is an especially difficult person to shop for - last year I bought her an expensive ancestry DNA kit that’s still sitting in her room - she refused to take it. Why? Well, she carefully read the fine print and informed me that this company would end up controlling her DNA. It could sell her unique information to third parties, that could then sell it and the information it contains to potential employers, insurance companies or even pharmaceutical companies. Also, law enforcement can use it to track down unknown criminals via who you may be related to.   https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolemartin1/2018/12/05/how-dna-companies-like-ancestry-and-23andme-are-using-your-genetic-data/?sh=69f3583d6189  So what? Well as healthcare cost continue to rise, your employers may become privy to information you may not even be aware of yourself. You may have a predisposition to Alzheimer’s, alcoholism or Parkinson’s. You may become unemployable and if you are working become targeted for dismissal.  Also the security, or lack thereof, may allow your information to be stolen and potentially be used against you. https://blog.malwarebytes.com/101/2018/11/dna-testing-kit-companies-really-data/  

I didn’t think about any of this and COVID-19 testing until I came across this article   https://nypost.com/2020/12/14/nyc-teachers-and-parents-sue-to-stop-covid-testing-over-dna-fears/?utm_campaign=iphone_nyp&utm_source=mail_app .  The teachers involved are concerned about their mandatory DNA collection samples taken for COVID-19 testing. These teachers and students have not been afforded the fine print in any kind of document which could alleviate their worries. The DOE is basically asking these teachers, students and their families to trust them. Has there ever been a time where private information hasn’t been safe guarded by the DOE?  I remember a publicized instance of student files thrown out with students names, addresses and personal information, in view for all. Does anyone think that was a one time occasion?  Most tests taken at hospitals and urgent cares are under the umbrella of medical privacy laws. As a DOE contracted company is being used, these teachers may have no such rights to privacy and security. That’s a huge problem. I believe their concerns are valid. That’s not to say that I believe mandatory testing should not be done, but every precaution must be made to ensure that this testing isn’t used as a weapon against the people it’s meant to protect.