Friends,

Thanks to all who participated in our rally & march on Friday. Hopefully you are now dry!

See these sites for coverage of the rally:
 http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/05/97118.html
 http://iceuftblog.blogspot.com/

For those who were not able to attend here is a great way to become part of our growing movement. On Monday May 12th from 12p to 5p, the Coalition Against Privatization is asking supporters to call or email the office NY State Superintendent of Insurance Eric Dinallo and register your opposition to the "conversion plan" for GHI & HIP. Please call early and often and encourage others to do the same. Out-of-state friends can also call as it will let the Superintendent know that a larger national audience is watching.

Phone the NY State Insurance Dept. of Public Affairs (leave a message if no human answers): (212) 480-5262
Email (cc a copy to  noprivatization@yahoo.com ):  health@ins.state.ny.us

The great part about this action is that we are building on previous work. The Superintendent already has the testimony of more than 100 people who opposed the conversion (privatization) at the January 29 & 31 hearings. You might follow up the phone call or email by mailing your comments to the Superintendent :


Honorable Eric R. Dinallo

New York State Superintendent of Insurance, One Commerce Plaza

Albany , NY , 12257

Peace,
Billy Wharton

Organizer
Coalition Against Privatization
www.myspace.com/saveourhealthcare


Here are some questions/points you might ask/make to the Superintendent or whoever answers the phone:
** What is the status of the conversion proposal?
** Can the Superintendent send you a copy of the impact analysis? (no impact analysis has been done)
**State in very clear terms that you encourage/request/demand that Superintendent Dinallo reject the application for conversion and develop a plan for reforming GHI & HIP while keeping the companies non-profit.

Here are some facts about the GHI/HIP conversion (privatization):
** More than 4 million New Yorkers are a part of GHI or HIP, including 500,000 city workers (including retirees)
** The merger of GHI & HIP would mean that 93% of city workers would be in one plan and that a 1% increase in premiums would cost the city $27.5 million; Such an increase would lead to highly contentious bargaining with TWU, UFT and D.C. 37 as City Hall attempts to increase health care concessions.
** GHI & HIP conversion would remove non-profit safeguards: only 15% of the budget can be spent on administration, there is some oversight on premium increases, there are restrictions on receiving finance from capital markets and non-profits are restricted from tiering, i.e. dividing policy holders into "low-risk" and "at-risk" pools with different premium levels and access to care.
** GHI & HIP claim to be cash-starved while HIP holds more than $900 million in reserves; studies of non-profit insurers in Washington and Maryland indicated that company claims of the need for outside financing were overstated
** No impact analysis has been conducted. Such a study should be independent and include sample groups from all sectors of GHI & HIP policyholders.
** The GHI & HIP conversion only includes "promises" that they will not raise premiums in the near-term - it leaves no room for oversight by NY State (for instance, there are no plans for things like rate hearings)
** In four other states applications for conversion have either been withdrawn or defeated after public outcry - Kansas, Maryland, Washington and and North Carolina - since 2001.
**Conversion would place 4 million people in NY State at the mercy of the for-profit insurance industry - this industry has left more than 46 million people without insurance, raised premiums by a cumulative 83% since 2001 and resulted in medical care spending becoming the highest percentage outlay of disposable income in the US.
** The US is the only major industrial country without universal coverage. Passage of the single payer insurance bill H.R. 676 would end the GHI & HIP debate.