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POLITICO New York Health Care, presented by The Healthcare Education Project: Marijuana expansion plans; Health Republic discussion

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

MARIJUANA EXPANSION — Roughly two months into New York's implementation of its medical marijuana program, one of the sponsors of the law that launched it has introduced a package of legislation to expand it. State Sen. Diane Savino, a Democrat from Staten Island, introduced four bills that would tweak the highly restrictive program in an effort to expand access for severely ill individuals who qualify for the drug. POLITICO New York’s Josefa Velasquez has more: http://politi.co/1UgZsn4

AGREEMENT ON SOMETHING, BUT NOT SURE YET WHAT — During a joint subcommittee meeting Wednesday focused on health, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle agreed the state budget should address the collapse of Health Republic Insurance of New York to prevent something similar from happening again. http://politi.co/1STGy4O

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 Velasquez and me on Twitter @J__Velasquez & @DanCGoldberg. And for all New Jersey health news, check out @katiedjennings

LOBBY DAY — Organizations that serve developmentally disabled New Yorkers returned to the Capitol on Wednesday to push the Legislature for an increase in funding that would allow them to raise wages without putting the already suffering sector under further strain. http://politi.co/1MnjGDO

** A message from The Healthcare Education Project: What’s a Health Insurance Guaranty Fund? It protects you if your health insurance plan goes broke. New York’s the only state without one.

Tell Albany we need a Health Insurance Guaranty Fund to ensure that families keep their coverage and healthcare providers aren’t left with massive unpaid bills. Visit: www.nyguarantyfund.org **

NOW WE KNOW — Here’s a new way to try and lose weight. Listen carefully — to the food. Researchers at Brigham Young University and Colorado State University believe the noise food makes can have a significant effect on how much food is eaten, according to an article in Food Quality and Preference. http://bit.ly/1WqzJq9

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.

HERE THEY COME — Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that spreads the Zika virus, could be coming to New York, according to a study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. http://trib.in/1STOGlB

ODDS ARE — The Wall Street Journal reports on a study from The Lancet that found a woman who is infected with Zika during her first trimester faces about a 1 percent risk that her unborn child will develop microcephaly. http://on.wsj.com/1STP6bV

BUGS — Companies that produce bug spray are already running factories near capacity as they anticipate surging demand in response to the spread of the Zika virus, according to the Wall Street Journal. http://on.wsj.com/1pMF80g

MAKING ROUNDS — NYU Langone Medical Center announced Wednesday that Brigitte Sullivan has been appointed executive director for NYU Langone’s Transplant Institute.

PRIZED — Dr. Sing Sing Way, the Pauline and Lawson Reed Chair in infectious disease at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, has been awarded the inaugural Gale and Ira Drukier Prize in children’s health research, Weill Cornell Medicine will announce today. The Drukier Prize honors an early-career pediatrician whose research has contributed to improving the health of children and adolescents. Way’s research focused on how the immune system tolerates the fetus and placenta during pregnancy, according to Weill Cornell Medicine. The prize comes with $10,000.

WHAT WE’RE READING:

-SPOONFUL OF SUGAR — Reuters reports: “Britain will introduce a sugar levy on soft drinks in two years' time to tackle a growing obesity crisis, finance minister George Osborne said in a surprise announcement on Wednesday, delighting health campaigners and angering drink makers. Just months after the government ruled out a sugar tax, Osborne said the levy, which would be imposed on companies and based on the sugar content in drinks, would raise about 500 million pounds ($704 million) annually.” http://reut.rs/1STPWFp

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from the New York City health department: “Chinese dietary supplement “Emperor’s Tea Pill” can have unsafe levels of lead and mercury.” http://on.nyc.gov/1Ugo4fQ

STUDY THIS:

-MARIJUANA — The percentage of Americans who reported using marijuana at least once over the course of the past year more than doubled between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013, and the increase in marijuana use disorders during that time was nearly as large, according to a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. http://bit.ly/1WqFFQ9

** A message from The Healthcare Education Project: What’s a Health Insurance Guaranty Fund? It protects patients and healthcare providers if a health insurance plan goes broke. 49 states have one. New York is the only state that doesn’t. The recent failure of Health Republic left consumers scrambling for new coverage, and hospitals and doctors statewide are still owed hundreds of millions for care they already provided. We need a Guaranty Fund to protect patients and healthcare providers before it’s too late.

The New York State Legislature should create a Health Insurance Guaranty Fund to ensure that families keep their coverage and healthcare providers aren’t left with massive unpaid bills. To learn more, visit: www.nyguarantyfund.org **

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 3/16, 3/15, 3/14, 3/11, 3/10

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