Friday, August 1, 2008

When Silence is not Golden- Join us on August 13th

The GHI /HIP PRIVATIZATION HEALTH CARE PROPOSAL Will Increase Costs and Reduce Health Care Benefits of Transit Workers.

Therefore it is time for the MTA and TWU leaders to break their silence and join the movement to stop the privatization of GHI/HIP.

With the GHI/HIP merger now complete, the newly formed Corporation has sent a new proposal to change their status from a non-profit to a for-profit corporation. Much is still unknown about the merger, as GHI/HIP are still operating independently right now, but if this next and final step of a conversion is allowed to go though, history tells us it will not be good for workers.

The conversion of GHI/HIP will undoubtedly lead to higher premiums and higher co-pays. Workers wages will also either be cut or greatly reduced to cover rapidly raising health care costs. For transit workers, there is the added burden of the 1.5+%. with no cap, which will also undoubtly go up at a much faster rate. There will most likely be a ranking of subscribers as too risky; factors which can be extremely problematic for retires and members with pre-existing medical conditions.

Claims and care will be more frequently denied as profit for shareholders and not care by doctors and medical providers will be the priority of a for-profit company. The salaries of the CEO’s of HIP have already begun to skyrocket and GHI's CEOs are sure to follow suit soon. History also shows us that the work forces of both GHI and HIP will be downsized as part of the conversion to a for profit corporation.

The conversion of GHI/HIP to a for-profit company is just a signature away, yet all we hear is silence from both the leadership of TWU local 100 and the MTA.

The plan to covert non-profit healthcare into for profit has become common place around the country, but the speed and secrecy which was attempted to privitize GHI/HIP has been unique. There have been no impact studies and only two public hearings held back in January 2008 on the GHI/HIP conversion. The privatization of GHI/HIP which will affect over four million people and over 90% of the municipal work force in NYC now rests in one man's hands, Eric Dinallo, the NY State Superintendent of Insurance. Therefore the only thing standing in the way of the deal to make GHI/HIP a public company is Mr. Dinallo -- and the Coalition Against Privatization (CAP).

CAP was formed in Feburary 2008 by Marvin Holland (TWU-Stations), John Powers (UFT) and William Wharton. In just six just months CAP has become a movement though a series of rallies and public demonstrations, the last one on July 30. We are now calling on all the progressive forces in health care reform movement, along with transit workers to come out to the MTA Public Hearing on WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2008 at 347 Madison Avenue (44th and 45th) in Manhattan at 4:30PM and speak out against the privization of GHI/HIP.

We think the perfect time to educate working class people about the GHI/HIP conversion is at a MTA public hearing on the Capital Budget. The MTA cannot have it both ways -- on the one hand they blame the health care cost of workers for fare hikes, but will remain silent on the conversion of GHI/HIP. We also think it is time for TWU Local 100 President Roger Toussaint to break his long silence on the GHI/HIP merger and now conversion. Mr. Toussaint is highly accountable as he sits on the GHI board which means he would have had to vote on both the merger and now conversion but has been mute on this subject. Like the MTA, Mr. Toussaint cannot have it both ways; on the one hand he attacks the McCain-Bush republican health care plans to undermine existing employer-based health care. But remains silent on his own involvement in this which will lower health care standards for his own members.

In addition we call on all elected officials in the State from the Governor to the NY City council to take a closer look at this conversion. and call for open public hearings all over the state. If GHI/HIP is allowed to become a for profit company it has the potential to very easy break the city and state budgets. CAP is calling for all community activists, union members, students and everyone who believes health care is a human right to join us on Wednesday August 13th 2008 at the MTA building.