The New York City Unions Whose Backdoor Deal Sold Out Retirees, Helped Insurance Industry

Link: https://www.newsweek.com/new-york-city-unions-whose-backdoor-deal-sold-out-retirees-helped-insurance-industry-1604661

Excerpt:

In recent years, leadership of some of the nation’s largest unions have publicly opposed single-payer health care proposals, angering their rank-and-file and forcing Democratic politicians who back single-payer to take on a key constituency.

In New York City, for example, the umbrella organization for the city’s public sector unions—the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC)—recently helped the health insurance industry block a statewide single-payer bill, on the grounds that their members wanted to keep the health care benefits for which they had sacrificed wage increases.

But it turns out that the MLC, which bargains for health care benefits for city unions, was also engaging in backdoor negotiations with the city, resulting in a proposal to switch nearly a quarter-million people from Medicare to privately administered Medicare Advantage plans.

…..

Following the 2018 cost-cutting agreement, union leaders and officials came up with eight proposals to meet the cost-cutting requirements, including switching to a statewide single-payer system or setting up a self-insurance system.

A January 2021 study by The New School found that the city could save about $1.6 billion per year if it adopted a self-insurance program, as most major cities and large companies have done. That would involve setting up a health insurance plan just for the city’s employees and paying for claims directly, rather than paying premiums to a health insurance company which tends to be more expensive because insurance company profit margins are so large.

But since the negotiations between the MLC and Office of Labor Relations were held behind closed doors, retirees don’t know whether this option was ever considered.

Author(s): JULIA ROCK, THE DAILY POSTER

Publication Date: 28 June 2021

Publication Site: Newsweek

Dems Demanding SALT Tax Cuts Stand to Benefit

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/democrats-gunning-to-end-salt-cap-stand-to-benefit/

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Excerpt:

The SALT tax deduction allows state and local taxes like property taxes to be deducted from federal taxes. The deduction is particularly beneficial to wealthy property owners in Democratic states, which typically have higher property tax rates. In 2017, the deduction was capped at $10,000 under President Trump’s tax reform bill, in what many saw as a Republican attack on blue states.

Repealing the SALT cap would cost the government $600 billion in revenue over nine years.  That outlay would essentially negate any financial benefits from  the Democrats’ proposal to raise the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 25 percent, the party’s preferred alternative to Biden’s proposed 28-percent corporate tax rate. With all of the money from raising the tax rate being funneled back to wealthy homeowners, there would likely be little money left to fund Biden’s infrastructure package.

Author(s): EMMA RINDLISBACHER

Publication Date: 11 May 2021

Publication Site: Daily Poster

Corporate Dems Show Progressives How To Play Hardball

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/p/corporate-dems-show-progressives

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Excerpt:

As The Daily Poster reported back in January, congressional Democrats in states like New York and New Jersey have been pushing for a repeal of the SALT deduction caps. Biden declined to include the SALT cap repeal in the American Rescue Plan. 

If the SALT cap was fully repealed, nearly all — 96 percent — of the tax benefits would flow to the top quintile of earners, and more than half of the benefits would go to the top 1 percent of earners, according to data from the Brookings Institution. Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation found that the majority of the benefits of a SALT cap repeal would flow to households earning more than $1 million.

Author(s): David Sirota, Andrew Perez

Publication Date: 31 March 2021

Publication Site: The Daily Poster

Report: FBI Now Probing Cuomo’s Corporate Immunity Law

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/p/report-fbi-now-probing-cuomos-corporate

Excerpt:

The probe follows a Daily Poster investigative series detailing how one of Cuomo’s biggest donors, the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) — a lobby group that represents hospital systems and nursing home operators — said it “drafted and aggressively advocated for” the corporate immunity provision. Cuomo’s administration quietly inserted the measure into his state’s budget as thousands lay dying from COVID-19 in New York nursing homes. 

Critics say that the immunity law removed a key deterrent to corporate malfeasance, and victims and their families were subsequently stripped of their legal rights. Cuomo’s original executive order shielding front line health care workers from lawsuits was widely reported, but not the governor’s separate budget language extending immunity to hospital and nursing home corporations’ executives and board members. 

Author(s): David Sirota, Joel Warner, Andrew Perez, Julia Rock

Publication Date: 18 March 2021

Publication Site: Daily Poster

The American Rescue Plan’s Money Cannon Is Great, But Not Enough

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/p/the-american-rescue-plans-money-cannon

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Excerpt:

As a spending bill, the ARP’s impact cannot be overstated. It is the mirror opposite of the Trump tax cuts, targeting most of its benefits to the bottom end of the income ladder, rather than the top. It will send stimulus checks up to $1,400 to an estimated 280 million Americans, continue additional $300 weekly unemployment benefits until the end of August, and distribute up $3,600 to families per child through monthly payments over one year beginning on July 1.

These three measures are expected to increase the incomes of the poorest 20 percent of Americans by an average of 33 percent, while the poorest 60 percent could see their incomes increase by an average of 11 percent, according to estimates from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. One estimate suggests that the legislation will slash child poverty in half.

Author(s): David Sirota, Julia Rock, Andrew Perez

Publication Date: 11 March 2021

Publication Site: The Daily Poster

Exposing Corporate Climate Denial

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/p/exposing-corporate-climate-denial

Excerpt:

Meanwhile, investor efforts to require political spending disclosures at individual companies were halted on many occasions by large asset managers like BlackRock and Vanguard, which have regularly used their immense shareholder voting power to shield companies from transparency.

Now with a new SEC chairman, transparency advocates see an opportunity for progress. 

“People want to know who companies are bankrolling,” said U.S. Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.). H.R. 1, the democracy reform package passed by House Democrats earlier this month, includes a bill from Levin to repeal the Republican measure blocking the SEC from requiring companies to disclose their political spending. 

Author(s): Julia Rock

Publication Date: 10 March 2021

Publication Site: Daily Poster

How To Stop The Manchin Presidency And Raise The Minimum Wage

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/p/how-to-stop-the-manchin-presidency

Excerpt:

Any standalone, substantial minimum wage bill will face a filibuster requiring 60 votes to overcome it. Despite the White House fantasizing that Republicans might support a serious minimum wage increase, there probably are not 10 GOP senate votes to break such a filibuster. 

Meanwhile, if Democrats try to attach a minimum wage increase to a bill that Republicans actually really want to vote for — say, the National Defense Authorization Act — Republicans could move to simply strike it out of that underlying bill, which enough conservative Democrats might agree to, and then the GOP would vote en masse for final passage of the stripped-down legislation.

Everyone in Washington knows this script, so a move to attach a minimum wage to a bill like this would likely be a performative gesture, but not a legislative victory.

Author(s): David Sirota

Publication Date: 4 March 2021

Publication Site: Daily Poster

“They Can’t Hold The Nursing Homes Responsible”

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/p/they-cant-hold-the-nursing-homes

Excerpt:

Attorneys insist nursing home negligence cases are not designed to target nursing home employees and other frontline workers caring for facility residents during the pandemic. As Mosher notes, “In most cases, these people are just as much victims as the residents.” 

Instead, the lawsuits are going after nursing home owners and operators, a population that has become increasingly dominated by private equity firms, shell companies, and other secretive for-profit operations, which make staffing and other decisions about quality of care in boardrooms and corporate offices far removed from those who are impacted.

The results of these cases are not about simply scoring million-dollar settlements and padding lawyers’ pockets, say legal experts. Torts and class action suits are an important deterrent to bad behaviors in an industry that has become known for lax oversight. 

Author(s): Joel Warner

Publication Date: 2 March 2021

Publication Site: The Daily Poster

How Wall Street Kills Grandma

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/p/how-wall-street-kills-grandma

Excerpt:

The study from University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago and New York University researchers evaluated data from 15,000 nursing homes across the United States, alongside Medicare patient data, to assess the impacts of private equity ownership on patient outcomes. In all, the researchers found that the deaths accounted for “about 160,000 lost life-years.”

Private equity firms typically take over existing corporations with borrowed or investor money and then impose cost-cutting measures to maximize revenues — often in preparation for selling off the newly stripped down firms at a profit. In the health care sector, private equity buyouts have been associated with lower staffing levelsmore frequent citations for health and safety violations, shortages of supplies like ventilators that are crucial for COVID patients, and other failings tied to the constant imperative to cut costs.

In all, 70 percent of nursing homes currently operate as for-profit businesses, far more than other healthcare facilities. Only about one quarter of hospitals, for example, are for profit.

Author(s): Julia Rock, David Sirota

Publication Date: 22 February 2021

Publication Site: The Daily Poster

Cuomo-gate: A Nixonian Scandal Is Engulfing New York

Link: https://www.dailyposter.com/p/cuomo-gate-a-nixonian-scandal-is

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Excerpt:

The Daily Poster had been covering the story for months before it exploded this week. The scandal is a cautionary tale of hubris, megalomania, and corruption that left a literal mountain of preventable COVID deaths in its wake. Now we are about to see whether a blue state’s democratic institutions can hold wrongdoers accountable, or whether America’s culture of impunity can once again protect the powerful from facing any consequences at all.

…..

Two national news outlets today detailed Cuomo’s new campaign of retribution against one lawmaker in his own party who dared to ask questions about constituents and family members who died under Cuomo’s nursing home policies. Cuomo held a press conference to publicly berate the same Democrat, while another New York news outlet reported that other lawmakers are now facing threats.  

….

Cuomo’s political machine received more than $2 million from the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), its executives, and its lobbying firms. The health care industry group also funneled more than $450,000 to members of the New York legislature in 2020. 

Author(s): David Sirota

Publication Date: 17 February 2021

Publication Site: Daily Poster