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Statement of Principles

  • Oppose any reduction in or elimination of retiree health benefits for those who have already retired.
  • Oppose any action to transfer retirees from a traditional Medicare plan to a Medicare Advantage plan without the consent of the retiree.

Federal Issues

  • Oppose any reductions in Medicare and Social Security.
  • Support measures designed to ensure the long-term financial security of the Social Security program and oppose those that are detrimental to the continuation of Social Security.
  • Support federal legislation that would change the measure of inflation currently used to calculate the Social Security COLA from the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners (CPI) and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) to the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), which more accurately reflects costs borne by seniors, such as medical care.

Support Right to Medicare Act: RPEA supports this federal legislation introduced in the House by Representatives Torres and Malliotakis (H.R. 5518). This bill would prohibit employers, both public and private, from involuntarily forcing seniors to shift away from traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage Plans without an affirmative opt-in on the part of the senior. The bill is a direct response to the efforts by New York City to move its retirees into a health plan provided by a private company.

RPEA has contacted the other members of the New York Congressional delegation to support the bill, and also requested that Senators Schumer and Gillibrand introduce the bill in the Senate. Click here to see RPEA’s letters to New York’s representatives.

New York State Issues

2024 Legislative Session

Top Priorities:

  • Increase the pension Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA): RPEA’s bill contains a “catch up” provision to authorize the actual COLA for the past 23 years, and increases the pension earnings threshold from $18,000 to $21,000.
  • Equity in Care: Ensure that NYSHIP Empire Plan Medicare-primary retirees receive benefits equal to those non-Medicare-primary retirees receive for care in skilled nursing facilities.
  • No Diminution of Benefit after Retiring: RPEA supports legislation (S.8388, Harckham/A.7866, Zebrowski) which would prevent public employers from diminishing health insurance benefits below the level provided as of November 1, 2022. The bill, known as the “Health Equity for Retirees Act,” would prevent shifting retirees into a Medicare Advantage Plan if it were determined that benefits would be lessened. Click here to read RPEA’s Memo of Support. Click here to listen to RPEA’s interview on the issue.
  • Support the State Comptroller as sole trustee of the Pension Fund, and oppose legislation that would diminish that role.

Other Bills of Interest:

  • Ensure that all NYSHIP Medicare charges (including Part D IRMAA) are reimbursed.
  • Provide that legislation implementing collective bargaining agreements apply only to the bargaining unit. This would prevent what happened in 2011, when a section of the bill implementing the CSEA contract contained a provision authorizing the Commissioner of Civil Service to administratively increase NYSHIP contribution rates for retirees.
  • Oppose any single payer healthcare bill that provides lesser benefits for retirees, especially for those out of state.
  • Permit retirees to make a voluntary dues deduction from their pension for RPEA membership.
  • Restore the salary increases for Management/Confidential employees that were authorized, yet ultimately withheld and never paid.

RPEA Testimony MAde at and to Prior Legislative Hearings

Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee Hearing on Workforce Development on January 30, 2024: Click Here to Read Testimony.

Senate Standing Committee on Civil Service and Pensions on October 11, 2023: Click Here to Read Testimony.

Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee Hearing on Workforce Development on March 1, 2023: Click Here to Read Testimony.

Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee on January 31, 2022: Click Here to Read Testimony.

Joint Legislative Fiscal Committees on February 2, 2021: Click Here to Watch Testimony.

Joint Legislative Fiscal Committees on February 5, 2020: Click Here to Watch Testimony.

Senate Finance Committee: Divesting the State Pension Fund from Fossil Fuels: April 30, 2019: Click Here to Read Testimony.

New York State Senate and Assembly on the New York Health Act: May 28, 2019: Click Here to Read Testimony.

Legislative Representative

Kevin Cleary Government Relations is our lobbyist. Kevin has 36 years of experience in the workings of state government.

Kevin will be collaborating with colleagues Tim Sheridan, David Langdon, and Katie Hohman on our issues. All have extensive legislative experience in the Capitol. Combined, they have more than 100 years of legislative/advocacy experience.

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