Unions halt Mayor Bloomberg’s overhaul of the city’s $63 billion health care system

Few Malawian government services reach this remote community, but health care provided free at the point of care is a cherished one. Image by Luke Messac, Malawi, 2013. Get World Newsletters: By Luke Messac for The Pulitzer Center . Fagnes Matunga lives about as far away as a Malawian can from the countrys capital city of Lilongwe. Her village of thatch-roof huts is perched on the summit of a windswept mountain. The dirt road that serves as the main thoroughfare doubles as a porous border between her native Malawi and neighboring Mozambique.
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By Jennifer Fermino / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Saturday, August 10, 2013, 1:25 AM Comment Joe Marino/New York Daily News Mayor Michael Bloomberg says skyrocketing health and pension costs could drive New York City into bankruptcy. A coalition of labor unions convinced a Manhattan judge to put a temporary stop on his plans to overhaul the city’s health care system. A coalition of municipal labor unions on Friday convinced a Manhattan judge to put a temporary stop to Mayor Bloomberg s ambitious overhaul of the citys $6.3 billion health care system. The unions sued the city in Manhattan Supreme Court, saying it shouldnt issue a request for bids from new health care providers next week because it hadnt consulted with them. Chelsea Stahl for New York Daily News Harry Nespoli, head of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, says unions want to help the city save money, but Bloomberg went about it ‘the wrong way.’ The judge told the city to stop the bidding process until the two sides face off in court on Aug. 20.
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UPDATE 1-U.S. Congress wins relief on Obamacare health plan subsidies

The decision by the Office of Personnel Management, with Obama’s blessing, will prevent the largely unintended loss of healthcare benefits for 535 members of the Senate and House of Representatives and thousands of Capitol Hill staff. When Congress passed the health reform law known as Obamacare in 2010, an amendment required that lawmakers and their staff members purchase health insurance through the online exchanges that the law created. They would lose generous coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The amendment’s author, Republican Senator Charles Grassley, argued that if Obamacare plans were good enough for the American public, they were good enough for Congress. Democrats, eager to pass the reforms, went along with it. But it soon became apparent the provision contained no language that allowed federal contributions toward their health plans that cover about 75 percent of the premium costs. This caused fears that staff would suddenly face sharply higher healthcare costs and leave federal service, causing a “brain drain” on Capitol Hill.
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