The point of view by county retirees regarding the recent news of a special legislative session taking place this afternoon to possibly rescind County Resolution No 123-23, better known as the agreement with Medicare Advantage plan, which was passed by the legislature back in August of this year, was given to X101 News.
Edward Goehler, the attorney representing 179 retirees and dependents of Cortland County, said to X101 News the concerns of the Legislature were not of the “utmost importance” as stated in a recent release by the Legislature. He continued on stating the Chair of the Legislature, Kevin Fitch, refused to hear the concerns by retirees and those retirees were shut out of the decision making process, which then led to the lawsuit.
“The county’s timeline problems are of their own making, as they purposely waited until the last possible minute in August to pass their resolution in the hopes that no effective opposition could be initiated to stop the forced transfer of the retirees’ Medicare benefits. This entire process has been flawed from beginning to end, and even the claimed “savings” of $800,000.00 per year has turned out to be a mirage pursuant to Mr. Corpora’s Affidavit that he recently filed in Court.” Goehler said in a statement.
The announcement of the switch put retirees and their dependents “scrambling” to find new doctors who accepted the new coverage.
“[Members in the lawsuit] have retirees with stage 4 cancer and other serious illnesses who were about to have their treatments interrupted because many providers refuse this advantage coverage, including CMA right here in Cortland.”
Goehler cited the County Legislature never consulted with the County’s Office of the Aging before voting on a switch. The reported savings of $800,000 was also noted by Goehler as never being mentioned in County Administrator’s Corpora’s affidavit.
“It looks like at most $315,902 in retiree health insurance savings, and a one time shared services grant they hoped to get for $300,106. Those grants are not recurring.”
When it came to the decision making process of the switch. Goehler noted a presentation was given to a committee within the Legislature in early August, and then sent to the full legislature for a vote 9 days later.
“The legislature’s process has been ridiculous from day one for something this serious, and now Mr. Fitch puts out a press release trying to save face saying he is concerned about the retirees.” Goehler continued.
The special meeting will take place today at 2 o’clock in room 308 at the Cortland County Office Building in the City of Cortland. Today’s meeting will be available via Webex, the weblink may be found HERE.