health

A Health Plan Implodes

April 7, 2017 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO It was nice to see the Republican health-care plan implode in late March. Here are just some of the ways the GOP plan would have affected New York and the country: ●New York state would have been hit with a $3.7 billion hole in its health-care budget. ● Deep Medicaid cuts to New York City would have devastated NYC Health+Hospitals. Some 200,000 residents who rely on the public health care system would have lost their health care. The loss of federal funds would have stuck NYC H+H with millions of dollars in annual deficits. ● Some 10 million people nationwide benefited from the Medicare expansion under the ACA. They would have lost their coverage. The Medicare expansion was funded by taxes on the wealthy. The elimination of those taxes would have given the power elite a windfall of $350 billion over 10 years. All told, under the GOP plan the wealthy would have [More...]

Vote “Yes” to Protect Your Drug Benefit

February 17, 2017 // 0 Comments

  By GREGORY N. HEIRES Mail ballots went out today  to more than 90,000 members for a vote on a contract extension to protect the union’s popular prescription drug plan, which has been rocked in recent years by the pharmaceutical industry’s pursuit of excessive profits. The contract extension, which the union and city agreed to in January, will enable the DC 37 Health & Security Plan to continue to provide stable benefits to members and retirees. During the past eight years, the pharmaceutical industry has raised prescription drug prices by 105 percent. Today, prescription drugs consume 76 percent of the costs of the welfare fund, which also covers the dental benefit and other benefits managed by the plan. The DC 37 Health & Security Plan faces a $55 million deficit. The contract extension is one of a number of critical steps the union is taking to protect the drug [More...]

Fight Big Pharma’s Price Gouging

January 6, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The January copay increases of the DC 37 Health & Security Plan’s prescription drug benefit show how we all are victims of the voracious pharmaceutical industry. For years, the plan struggled to maintain the old copays. But with the skyrocketing cost of drugs, the plan’s trustees finally felt they had no choice but to approve the copay hikes. As DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido has pointed out, drug costs will likely continue to rise until the government steps in to control the prices of the unregulated pharmaceutical industry. “The pharmaceutical industry’s track record of corporate greed is reprehensible,” said Willie Chang, administrator of the plan. “We need to do whatever we can as consumers and individual activists to slow down price increases.” Although consumers have little or no control over prices in the absence of a nationwide [More...]

How to Cope with the Post-Election Blues

January 4, 2017 // 0 Comments

By JULIE BECK Collective trauma is “a shared experience of threat and anxiety in response to sudden or ongoing events that lead to some threat to a basic sense of belonging in society,” says Jack Saul, the director of the International Trauma Studies Program. “It usually is a disruption to the social and moral order.” One could argue that those who opposed Donald Trump’s election have been through a collective trauma that has left them feeling rattled and afraid. Women and people of color have good reason to be anxious, given the sexist and racist things Trump said during the campaign, given his threats against the women who accused him of sexual assault, given how he has painted Mexicans as criminals, given that he was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, given so, so many things. People have very real fears rooted in policies Trump has promised to enact in office — including a [More...]

Unions and Community Activists Pressure Cuomo to Sign Safety-Net Legislation

December 20, 2016 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS As the December 31 deadline fast approaches, a coalition of health-care activists, elected leaders and working men and women call for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill that would give safety-net hospitals a fairer share of funds to care for the neediest New Yorkers. “Local 1549 and DC 37 have been on the frontlines fighting for decades to preserve and protect public hospitals in New York,” said Eddie Rodriguez, president of Local 1549 and District Council 37. “We urge all union members, members of the community and patients to tell the governor to sign this critical safety-net legislation that would increase funds for public hospitals and insure that our communities continue to receive vital health-care services,” Rodriquez said. The grassroots coalition held a press conference at Harlem Hospital Nov. 15, urging the governor to enact the enhanced safety-net [More...]

Union Backs Mayor’s Call for $2 Billion Infusion of New Funds for the City’s Public Hospitals

April 26, 2016 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS In a show of commitment to NYC Health + Hospitals, Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed a $2 billion infusion of aid to stop a financial hemorrhage that for decades has plagued the nation’s largest public health-care system. “We applaud the mayor for his leadership and ongoing commitment to provide and improve vital services for all who live in our city,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “Clearly, no service is more vital than health care — and no public health-care system has been more diligent than Health + Hospitals.” The de Blasio administration’s H+H proposal released on April 26 includes $100 million for capital investments, adds $700 million to reduce the H+H’s budget shortfall in 2016, and has land sales and affordable housing tie-ins. It is part of the mayor’s executive budget subject to the City Council’s vote. “Most [More...]

Health Advocates Demand More State and Federal Funding for Public Hospitals

April 18, 2016 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO DC 37 leaders joined health care activists and Public Advocate Letitia James, City Council member Vanessa Gibson and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer to demand the federal and state governments provide more funding for the city’s cash strapped network of public hospitals. NYC Health + Hospitals face a $2 billion deficit in 2019. “Our state and federal government must do their part to ensure New Yorkers access to high quality comprehensive health care,” said Brewer during a press conference April 14 in front of City Hall. The activists also cautioned against any attempts by the city to resolve the hospital’s budget crisis by privatizing services. “Privatizing these desperately needed resources will not solve our problems,” said James. “And it has proven to cost taxpayers more money.” Ralph Palladino, 2nd VP of Local 1549 and a longtime health [More...]

New York City and Municipal Unions Agree to Health-Benefit Changes

March 29, 2016 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Municipal unions and the city agreed to major benefit changes in February under a $3.4 billion plan to hold down health-care costs. The Municipal Labor Committee (MLC), which is comprised of public sector unions in the city and negotiates on health-care matters on their behalf, approved the benefit modification package on Feb. 22. The changes will go into effect July 1. DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido discussed the modifications – a series of co-pay changes – at the Delegates meeting on Feb. 23. Garrido noted that the agreement maintains the quality of the city’s health-care plans and avoids premium contributions. “We remain the only major municipality in the country with free coverage,” Garrido said. In addition to maintaining coverage and avoiding a premium contribution by the members, the agreement calls for the city to make a [More...]

Rising Morbidity of Workers

December 21, 2015 // 0 Comments

By JUAN FERNANDEZ The New York Times reported the findings of a 2015 study that showed that between 1999 and 2013, white middle-aged men and women in the United States — especially those with no more than a high school education — began dying at sharply increased rates. The report also noted an increase in the mortality rates of white non-Hispanics between ages of 45 to 54. This study by Princeton University economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case concludes that the death rate was “driven by an epidemic of suicides and afflictions stemming from substance abuse: alcoholic liver disease and overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids.” This study is significant because it adds a new understanding of the widespread health and social crisis affecting lower-income groups, women and minorities in the United States. But much of the analysis barely touches on the issues of class and [More...]