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POLITICO New York Health Care: Kratom legislation; De Blasio's health savings

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 newyork@politicopro.com and we'll set you up for trial access.

written by Dan Goldberg

KRATOM WARS Legislators in New York have proposed banning the sale of kratom, a herbal drug that became popular for heroin users going through withdrawal. http://politi.co/1VKtzRr

TO REDUCE COSTS, CITY WILL INCREASE COPAYS — With an eye toward changing employee behavior, the de Blasio administration and the Municipal Labor Committee have agreed to increase copayments for some health care services while decreasing others, hoping city workers will make more efficient use of the health care system. http://politi.co/1Uquk3H

...Incentivizing choices, if it works, will pay dividends in the future. In the short term, the city is accumulating savings by making employees contribute more in the form of higher co-pays. It’s essentially the “skin in the game” argument that many health economists favor.

SHARE ME: Like this newsletter? Please tell a friend to sign up. Give them this link: http://politi.co/1gMLiJV

AND MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW Josefa and me on Twitter @J__Velasquez & @DanCGoldberg. And for all New Jersey health news, check out @katiedjennings

PAY ATTENTION TO THIS The New York Court of Appeals upheld a state rule requiring health workers wear a mask if they forgo a flu shot during flu season. http://bit.ly/1VLEiLp

BASSETT’S OPINION — New York City health commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett wrote a letter to the editor explaining why she believes Texas’ abortion law, which is set to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, should be overturned. http://nyti.ms/1VLD9DL

...Here is John Oliver’s take on the abortion case: http://bit.ly/1VLDaHN

NOW WE KNOW — Dr. Alan Cooperman, director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and vice chairman of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, says women don’t need to urinate immediately after sex, and can cuddle for a bit — if they like.

WE'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU: This roundup is for you, so please tell us how we can make it even better. Send tips, news, ideas, calendar items, releases, promotions, job postings, birthdays, congratulations, criticisms and corrections to dgoldberg@politico.com.

THEY KNEW — A factory responsible for tainting water in sburgh notified the state Department of Environmental Conservation in 2005 that it had discovered PFOA in groundwater, the Albany Times Union reported Friday. At the time, state officials told the paper, PFOA was not a regulated chemical, and it did not trigger any alarm. The revelations come as POLITICO New York reported that officials at the state health department knew PFOA could be in water in sburgh in 2014 — after the federal Environmental Protection Agency had raised concerns about the toxicity of PFOA — and that the DOH suggested a delay in reporting pollution results in the village of Hoosick Falls.

OSCAR, OSCAR — I’ve been asking readers what they think the end-game is for Oscar investors and have gotten many thoughtful responses. One reader compared Oscar’s valuation to the rise of Donald Trump. Does it make sense on paper? No, but people who hate the status quo are willing to bet on the alternative without asking too many questions. If you have any thoughts on what Oscar investors expect, email me at dgoldberg@politico.com

CHECK THIS OUT — The Manhattan Institute is hosting a conference March 23 on hospital consolidation and competition in New York State. Distinguished health care experts, from academia, business, and nonprofits, will examine various tools that policymakers can use to deliver better outcomes across New York’s vast health care ecosystem, including regulatory reforms to boost competition, better state and federal antitrust oversight, and value-based purchasing strategies. http://bit.ly/215xkrf

...I’ll be moderating the first panel and want to know what you think I should ask and/or discuss. Email me at dgoldberg@politico.com

MISSING IN ACTION — Dozens of diagnostic and treatment facilities in New York are past due for state inspections, according to the Daily News. http://nydn.us/1VLEqL5

FINANCES — New York Methodist Hospital reported an operating gain of $80 million for the year 2015, down 20 percent from the same period in 2014. Revenue increased 1.5 percent year-over-year, according to the hospital's most recently released financial statements. Expenses increased 4.3 percent. Read the full report here: http://politi.co/1UshamK

NATIONAL RESOURCE NETWORK, NYU PARTNER TO LAUNCH LOCAL HEALTH DASHBOARDS — The National Resource Network and NYU on Thursday announced the creation of a new initiative to track city health outcomes, starting with four pilot cities — Flint, Michigan; Kansas City, Kansas; Providence, Rhode Island; and Waco, Texas.

ACROSS THE RIVER: The city of Elizabeth is one of a growing number of municipalities challenging the property tax exemption of local nonprofit hospitals. http://politi.co/1UquQPc

PHARMA REPORT: The Wall Street Journal reports: “Perdue Farms Inc. plans by June to eliminate antibiotics used in chicken it sells as nuggets and strips in supermarkets across the U.S., significantly escalating a nascent industry response to concerns about such use.” http://on.wsj.com/1VLCG4h

WHAT WE’RE READING:

-ZIKA SPREADING — The Wall Street Journal reports: “Reports of people sickened by Zika virus are growing quickly in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday, illustrating serious challenges posed by frequent travel to and from regions affected by the virus.” http://on.wsj.com/1VLCz92

-DON’T DO THAT — Salah Sood, a former manager at an assisted living facility, was indicted Thursday on federal charges arising from a scheme to open credit card accounts using the stolen identity information of senior citizens who were in his care. http://bit.ly/1VLCPVi

-THE DOCTOR IS COMING — Dr. Phil, who is not a medical doctor or a licensed psychologist, is the new paid pitchman for AstraZeneca, according to Vox.com. “The spokesperson for the campaign said Dr. Phil wouldn't be talking about the drug per se, but will be accompanied by a medical doctor who will surely fill in any blanks. That doctor happens to be on AztraZeneca's payroll too.” http://bit.ly/1VLDHtd

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from Johns Hopkins Medicine: “It's easy to think the worst with a bad headache: Could it be a brain tumor?” http://bit.ly/1Rdb7Ny

STUDY THIS:

-JUST FOLLOWING ORDERS — Why is it so easy for people to inflict pain on others just because someone told them to do it? According to an article in Current Biology is is because when someone gives us an order, we feel less responsible for our actions. In fact, this study showed people feel that there is a longer time lag between their action and the outcome. They essentially removed themselves from the harm even in a temporal way. http://bit.ly/1KVEI1q

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 2/26, 2/25, 2/24, 2/23, 2/22

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