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Opposition to the further privatization of Medicare Part B “premium support” demonstration districts

Passed by the Retired Teachers’ Chapter membership meeting on October 7, 2008

WHEREAS in 2010 the Medicare Modernization Act is slated to pressure Medicare Part B eligible beneficiaries in six urban and four rural geographical areas, to opt into private health insurance plans by issuing voucher checks to shop for their own private plans or traditional Medicare; and

WHEREAS healthy middle class seniors will be more attracted to private plans because of:

  • Lower cost: Government provided vouchers will end up covering the cost for the private for profit plans while those who choose Medicare Part B will be charged an additional amount to pay for more substantial coverage.
  • Increased Medicare Part B premiums: Traditional Medicare costs are increasing dramatically as a result of cuts in funding and“means testing”
  • Cherry picking: Private Health insurance companies will aggressively entice healthy seniors with lower cost for a reduced benefit package and perks such as gyms, swimming programs(silver skates) etc.

WHEREAS when healthier beneficiaries leave traditional Medicare, the population that remains will be sicker on average, further increasing its per-beneficiary costs; and, in turn will drive up premiums for traditional Medicare even more – and further induce even more healthy beneficiaries to abandon Medicare for the for profit private plans; and

WHEREAS privatization will leave Medicare as a small program for the sick, poor and elderly, becoming a welfare program being vulnerable to further funding cuts that welfare programs have traditionally suffered; and be it

RESOLVED that the UFT/NYSUT/AFT support the repeal of the provision of the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) which sets up a “voucher scam” that requires a large-scale, six-year demonstration project to end Medicare as we know it; and be it finally

RESOLVED that the United Federation of Teachers engage with all its allies in the fight to make the public aware and to pressure Congress to take the legislative action to repeal by petitions, faxes, emails, letters or any other form of public campaign.