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Testimonial of Sarah Shapiro

Sarah Shapiro, January 20, 2023

My name is Sarah Shapiro, retired teacher, lifelong unionist, and member of CROC (Cross-union Retirees Organizing Committee). 

I am here to urge the Council members to vote NO on amending Admin. Code 12-126. 

if the law is changed it will not only affect ¼ million retirees, their families, dependents and all current municipal workers but future workers and retirees in perpetuity. Have you thought about how this will affect NY citizens now and in the future? 

The New York Times article, The Cash Monster Was Insatiable: How Insurance Firms Exploited Medicare Advantage for Billions, reported that nearly all the top Medicare Advantage insurers have been accused of fraud or scamming the federal government by overbilling. One of these companies is CVS, which owns Aetna—the insurance company the MLC and City are currently negotiating with.

“Medicare Advantage,” is a misnomer. It is not Medicare. Legislation in the House called Save Medicare Act would make it illegal for these private health insurance companies to use the word Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans are in the business of making profits by delaying, denying and rejecting necessary medical tests, procedures and medical care. 

Retiree healthcare is only 6/10 of 1% of the City’s entire budget. 

According to the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget November Financial Plan the city has $8.3B in reserves – the highest level in its history.

Rainy-Day Fund: has $1.9 billion

The General Reserve fund has $1.6 billion

The Retiree Health Benefit Trust Fund has $4.5 billion. 

The City is not broke.

Long- term solutions to cut healthcare costs are needed such as:

1) The city could create a self-insurance plan; 
2) Aggressive hospital cost reduction measures; 
3) All union welfare funds could be consolidated into one for group drug purchasing; 
4) Current insurance providers could be audited for potential fraud and duplication; 
5) Money wasted due to bad insurance management and inefficiencies could be reduced. 

We agree with the proposal put forth by the PSC. 

Listen to retirees! Let the mayor do his own dirty work! Vote No on amending Admin. Code 12-126!

Sarah Shapiro

917 453 0803