Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Take Back Our Union (TBOU) Labor Round Table Topic Health Care

This coming Wednesday June 3, 2009 the Take Back Our Union (TBOU) Movement will hold a Labor Round Table on "Rising Health Care Costs and the Privatization of Emblem Health "

WHEN : Wednesday June 3,2009 from 4:00 P.M. to 7: 00 P.M.
WHERE : North Star Fund 520 8th avenue 22nd floor (between 36 and 37street)
To Register for this or other Take Back Our Union workshops and seminars call (212) 631-5857 (24 hr Automated Reservation System) or send email to

Confirmed Guest Speakers : Judy S Gonzalez Single Payer NY
Ajamu K. Sankofa PHIMG Coalition
Billy Wharton Health Care Activist
Below is a press release on the work that health care activists led by Billy Wharton have been doing around the attempt to privatize Emblem Health.

NY State Department of Insurance Rejects Emblem Health Claim‏

***For Immediate Release*** NY State Department of Insurance Rejects Emblem Health Claim; Releases Documents to Activists Wednesday April 29, 2009 - On Tuesday April 28, 2009 Michelle Birnbaum, Legal Assistant to the General Counsel of NY State, notified activist Billy Wharton that the NY State Department of Insurance (DOI) would comply with his Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Wharton requested that all documents related to the proposed conversion of Emblem Health (formerly GHI & HIP) to a for-profit corporation be made public.

Emblem Health attempted to counter this by claiming that their latest for-profit conversion application should be exempt from Freedom of Information Act laws. Emblem argued that their amended application contained trade secrets and proprietary information. The DOI rejected this claim and has transmitted the revised “draft” application to Mr. Wharton along with a full list of documents relating to the attempted for-profit conversion. “The release of these documents,” said Wharton,”should increase public debate over a healthcare privatization which could negatively impact more than 3 million New Yorkers.” There has been strong outcry from public health advocates about the proposed conversion since the application was filed by Emblem with the DOI in December 2007. Despite this, no impact analysis of the conversion has been conducted and only two public hearings have been organized by the DOI. Emblem claims that the conversion would provide it with the private capital needed to upgrade administration and increase their competitive advantage.

Activists see the for-profit conversation as a privatization attempt which would lead to higher premiums, denial of access to care and the possible elimination of coverage for less–profitable Medicaid recipients. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also objected to the merger and conversion of the companies by citing violations of anti-trust laws. Faced with widespread opposition from all sectors of the healthcare rights community, Emblem withdrew its application for conversion in early 2008. A new “draft” proposal was filed the DOI on July 24, 2008. Since Emblem did not formally file an application, the document seemed to be exempt from Freedom of Information Laws. Activists expect the “draft” application to contain Emblem’s attempt to respond to public criticisms of the proposed conversion. Emblem has yet to file another official application with the DOI.

For Copies of the documents or interviews contact Billy Wharton, (718) 869-2279 or email you can also visit for more information and upcoming events.

No comments: