By Carol F. Yost
Recently, a Healthcare Committee was established for VID.
As the Chairperson, I can report that we have started by taking action to oppose the privatization of Medicare. Dr. Alec Pruchnicki, a member of the Committee, wrote a letter to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand opposing the federal effort to privatize Medicare. Meanwhile, on the New York City level, a determined effort, pushed by funding from the federal government, is geared to privatize the Medicare coverage for municipal employees. I wrote both Mayor Adams and Comptroller Brad Lander asking that they not authorize this plan. The letters went out under VID letterhead. Meanwhile, the opposition from different groups to the privatization on the city and federal levels has had a significant effect. The federal program has been slightly revised in an ineffectual attempt to placate the opposition (the plan is now called ACO REACH), but the opposition is as strong as ever. For now, the New York City retiree Medicare privatization program (the Medicare Advantage Plus Plan) has been stopped as the result of a lawsuit brought by a group of retirees. Both sides will be facing off in court, as the City continues to try to ram through its plan. I think the main reason so many of us are against the privatization is that the profit motive is expected to play a role in determining just how much coverage for medical expenses will be provided. We get promises, but there is no guarantee. As a municipal NYC retiree myself, I know what it feels like to have the rug ripped out from under you. We had been guaranteed coverage by traditional Medicare for our retirement.
Other possible issues for the Committee to cover will include mental healthcare, inmate healthcare, abortion rights, Medicaid reimbursement and the drive for a new Village hospital to replace St. Vincent’s. We can write letters on VID letterhead, suggest legislation, write resolutions and organize forums.
I feel honored to be able to head this Committee, and we are going to do as much as we can about current healthcare issues.