Fight vs. NYC retiree healthcare cuts grows

16 February 2024 207 hits

NEW YORK CITY, February 12—In Washington, the stumbling, bumbling racist politicians of the DemoPublican bosses' parties argue about how much to cut benefits for workers, how much to spend on a military budget to try to hold onto their empire, how to attack immigrants fleeing intolerable conditions in their country of birth and how to end the federal Medicare health plan as it has been run for the last sixty years. Progressive Labor Party (PLP) says don’t be fooled by the bosses' system and their ideas. We fight against the bosses’ plans and for a new egalitarian society run by workers to meet the needs of workers, that’s communism!

Capitalism puts profits above worker’s health
Here in New York City, workers are not passive in the face of the bosses and union honchos’ plans. For the last three years, retired New York City municipal workers have been fighting against a plan agreed to by the city government and the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC),an umbrella group of over 100 unions that have collective bargaining rights for current city workers) that force retirees out of traditional Medicare health coverage and into a so-called Medicare “Advantage” plan run by one of the health insurance corporate giants. Retirees have fought this plan because it would narrow our ability to use some doctors and medical facilities, impose preauthorization requirements that have been shown to deny or delay needed medical procedures and tests that cost more money. New copays would hit lower-income retired workers (who are disproportionately Black, Latin, and women retirees) the hardest, making this plan a racist and sexist one. The reality of healthcare in the U.S. is that more and more working folks are forced to make the unthinkable choice between paying for housing, food, healthcare, or prescription medicine. Amid this struggle, PLP members have pointed out that under capitalism, the healthcare system is always designed to make profits for the healthcare bosses, not to guarantee the best health outcomes for the working class. That’s why PLP builds for a communist revolution.

The fightback is spreading 
For the last two years, the Medicare  grassroots retiree organization has pursued a legal challenge that stopped the NYC Medicare (dis)advantage plan in its tracks. Now retirees have been placing ads in various print and online media outlets signed by 4,000 retired union leaders, staff, members, and organizers. The ads attempt to show that this fight is directed against fat cat MLC leaders who act as agents of the bosses rather than leaders of the fight for workers.  

Now this struggle is spreading as retired NYC transit workers from TWU Local 100 have begun a similar fight against their boss, the NYC Transit Authority. In addition, government workers in the state of Delaware have stopped a Medicare (dis)Advantage plan there and workers in Illinois, Vermont and Washington State are joining the struggle. PLP members have said that the attack on retirees will sooner rather than later lead to healthcare cuts on current NYC government workers. Now, the MLC is currently in backroom negotiations which we predict will restrict healthcare options and impose additional costs for 350,00 current workers.

Fighting back and not passively listening to bosses’ politicians or pro boss union hacks is a good thing. However, as long as capitalist bosses are in control, every victory we win is temporary. That’s why workers need to join the PLP and fight for communist revolution!