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POLITICO New York Health Care: Budget questions; no progress on Medicaid negotiations

Dear readers: POLITICO New York Pro subscribers receive an enhanced version of this email at 5:30 a.m. each weekday. If you'd like to receive it, along with a customized real-time news feed of New York health care policy news throughout the day, please contact us at and we'll set you up for trial access.

written by Dan Goldberg

BUDGET CONCERNS — New York insurers and business groups are objecting to a little-noticed provision in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget that they say is a violation of state statute.

CUOMO’S AMENDMENTS — Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 30-day amendments to the executive budget broaden the state’s power to control who operates homeless shelters in New York state, allowing the state’s Office of Temporary Disability and Assistance to remove operators at shelters who are found to have financial and safety problems and appoint new ones.

RED ALERT — Mayor Bill de Blasio was in Albany over the weekend and told reporters he has not yet had formal meetings with the governor’s office regarding the billions of dollars in Medicaid “efficiencies” the city and state are supposed to find.

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CUOMO TO ACT ON HOOSICK FALLS — The state will spend $10 million to begin planning for a new alternate water supply in the village of Hoosick Falls, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.

CHILDREN BEG CUOMO FOR HELP — At a press conference they organized, a dozen high school students called for urgent assistance from the Cuomo administration, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the companies responsible for fouling their village’s water supply with toxic chemicals.

IT ISN’T JUST HOOSICK FALLS — The Investigative Post looks at a landfill in North Tonawanda where waste from the Love Canal is buried. “After insisting for 25 years that the closed landfill posed no significant health threat, state officials changed their minds in December and declared it a Superfund site. But warning signs were evident all along: rusted chemical drums, battery casings stacked waist high and children getting burns from splashes of orange pond water.”

NOW WE KNOW — Half of all large carnivore attacks are caused by humans doing something they ought not be doing, according to researcher Vincenzo Pentariani.

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ZIKA CZAR — The Associated Press reports: “Sen. Charles Schumer wants the White House to appoint a ‘zika czar’ to coordinate the U.S. response to the mosquito-borne virus that is being blamed for serious birth defects.”

PIPELINE — Buffalo Business First looks at the biotech companies drawing capital to Buffalo.

REAL ESTATE NEWS — A pair of New York state agencies are in late-stage negotiations to renew a 250,000-square-foot spread at a U.S. Postal Service-owned building on Church Street, according to The Real Deal.

GRANT LAND — The University at Buffalo received a five-year, $2.35 million grant from New York State to research Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, according to a press release from the school.

APPOINTED — Dr. John Epling, of Manlius, chair of Upstate University's Department of Family Medicine, was appointed to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard.

MAKING ROUNDS — Adam Henick has been appointed chief operations officer of AdvantageCare Physicians, a partner of Emblem Health serving 500,000 patients. Henick was recruited from Mount Sinai Ventures where he was president.

ALSO MAKING ROUNDS — VOCAL-NY’s board of directors named Alyssa Aguilera and Jeremy Saunders the new co-executive directors of VOCAL-NY. Aguilera is political director at VOCAL-NY. In 2014, she became the executive director of their sister 501(c)4 organization, VOCAL-NY Action Fund.


-WHEN THE HOSPITAL FIRES THE BULLET — Elisabeth Rosenthal’s latest piece begins with a haunting story of a bipolar man seeking treatment in a Houston hospital who ends up shot in the chest by security.

SUPPORT — The Wall Street Journal writes about a support group for women with atypical femur fractures. “Jennifer Schneider, a Tucson physician whose thigh broke on the New York City subway in 2001, started an online support group for atypical femur fracture sufferers.”

-ON THAT NOTE — The Wall Street Journal reports: “Use of osteoporosis drugs, once heavily advertised by celebrity spokeswomen, has dropped by more than 50% in recent years amid reports of such serious side effects as sudden bone fractures. Yet many experts say the benefits of the drugs, known as bisphosphonates, far outweigh the risks for many users.”

-IRONY IN MEDICINE — Many readers tell me they once lived in Massachusetts, so here is a story from the New York Times about the irony of Massachusetts General, a hospital founded for the poor, embracing a concierge model, an option for the rich. “For $6,000 a year (and whatever their insurance pays), patients in its new Concierge Medicine Practice will get round-the-clock access to their doctors (initially, there will be three in the practice), as well as personalized nutritional, exercise and wellness counseling.”

-HEAVEN FORBID — Catholic leaders in Zika-affected nations are warning women against using contraceptives or having abortions, even as health officials are advising women not to get pregnant because of the risk of birth defects, according to The New York Times.

-A TREND PIECE — The adult diaper market is set to explode, according to Bloomberg Business. “We’re trying to make the product more normal, and even fun, with real people in our ads saying, ‘Hey, I have bladder leakage, and it’s no big deal,’ ” says Jay Gottleib, head of Kimberly-Clark’s adult and feminine-care business in North America.

-RACE IN MEDICINE — TED has a video in which social justice advocate and law scholar Dorothy Roberts says race-based medicine is bad medicine. “Even today, many doctors still use race as a medical shortcut; they make important decisions about things like pain tolerance based on a patient's skin color instead of medical observation and measurement.”

-THE GROWING GAP — The New York Times reports: “Despite big advances in medicine, technology and education, the longevity gap between high-income and low-income Americans has been widening sharply.”

-REINSURANCE — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is expecting to pay out $7.7 billion to 2015 health plans under Obamacare's reinsurance program, which provides a financial safety net to companies that attracted expensive customers, according to POLITICO. “The payments will be funded by $5.5 billion collected from health plans last year, $1 billion CMS expects to collect this year, and part of the $1.7 billion left over from 2014, the agency said today. The leftover funds, expected to be $500 million, will be used for administrative costs or returned to the federal treasury.”

-OBAMACARE ON THE FARM — Contractors who provide farm labor and must now offer workers health insurance are complaining loudly about the cost in their already low-margin business, according to NPR.

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from the Cleveland Clinic: “Minority men. Don’t take your health for granted. Start with these tips.”


-COLOMBIAN HEROIN USE — New York University's Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR) and NDRI, Inc., surveyed heroin users in two Colombian cities to see how whether they shared needles, and why.

-WHAT WE’VE LEARNED — Dr. Arthur Caplan, a medical ethicist at NYU Langone and Dr. Amrit Ray, who works with Janssen, a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company, wrote an opinion piece for JAMA touting their partnership, which helps patients receive drugs that remain under trial.

-TYLENOL DURING PREGNANCY — Taking Tylenol (acetaminophen) during pregnancy is associated with a slight increase in the risk for asthma in offspring, according to a study in the International Journal of Epidemiology, reported on by The New York Times.

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 2/12, 2/11, 2/10, 2/9, 2/8

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