Two major health care institutions in Brooklyn are on the brink of bankruptcy and closure any day now: Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill, and Interfaith Medical Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Both these facilities are vital pillars of their respective communities, serving large numbers of uninsured and low-income people on public insurance programs like Medicaid, Family Health Plus, and Child Health Plus.
Unfortunately, pleas to state officials for help, made by the local communities and their elected officials, the unions representing workers at these hospitals, and the hospitals’ boards and executives, have all fallen on deaf ears in Albany, and court orders to keep them open and operating are also being ignored by state officials.
On July 24, all the various forces working hard to keep these hospitals open held a New Orleans-style funeral march across the Brooklyn Bridge (a tried-and-true NYC political tradition), followed by a rally in Lower Manhattan.
By way of some background…. The crisis at both these medical facilities is part of a larger health care crisis in northern and central Brooklyn, a part of our city that is predominantly comprised of various immigrant communities and communities of color. These communities have been neglected and chronically underfunded for many years running now when it comes to health care. Meanwhile, other well-resourced, politically-influential, and market-dominating health care institutions located in more-affluent areas of our city have all too often garnered the lion’s share of limited public resources. Unfortunately, this dynamic is all too common across our city. We urge Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg, and members of the State Legislature and City Council to immediate rectify this situation. We also call on all candidates running for public office in this year’s municipal elections to address this crisis when speaking to voters.
New Yorkers were “taking it to the streets” on July 2nd to defend Social Security! As part of a national day of action, our allies in New York affiliates of the Alliance for Retired Americans held “Human Chains Against a Chained CPI” actions in communities all across New York. Here in NYC, we gathered with our NYC ARA partners outside the offices of Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to call on them to keep being the champions for Social Security that they have always been, and lead the fight against any chained-CPI proposals in Congress.
The fight for universal health care in America is at the center of the larger federal budget fight that’s been going on in Congress for two years running now. But to protect Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act, we must also protect Social Security. They are all part of a whole.
During negotiations for next year’s federal budget year, one bad idea being put forward is to change the formula used to calculate the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits. The change would replace a general inflation measurement to that of a “chained-CPI”. The net effect of this change would be to significantly lower the lifetime Social Security benefits received by retirees, the disabled, and spousal and child survivors of deceased workers. We can’t let that happen!
Since last year’s elections, we have been working with a number of groups and unions here in New York City to build the exciting new “No Bad Grand Bargain” (NBGB) campaign. Its goals are to protect health care and social programs from cuts and negative structural changes by restoring fairness to our tax system so that revenues increase, and by re-orienting spending priorities away from waste in the military sector and sweetheart corporate deals toward investing in domestic programs instead. Please contact us if you’d like some more info on NBGB and how to get involved.
For more information about what’s bad about the chained-CPI, click here