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POLITICO New York Health Care: Budget breakdown; new anti-smoking campaign

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 BREAKDOWN — Lawmakers left the Capitol Tuesday evening without resolving concerns of Assembly Democrats opposed to Medicaid cost shifts.

HOW BAD IS IT? — Heastie and his Democratic conference are so adamant that New York City not assume the increasing costs of the state’s Medicaid program that the conference’s committee tables haven’t met since Monday night, an effort to pressure Cuomo into backing away from his Medicaid proposal.

ALSO PAY ATTENTION TO THE EVOLVING RATIONALE: First, the Cuomo administration said the Medicaid cost-shift was fair because New York City was the only jurisdiction in the state exempt from the state's property tax cap. Then, when that logic was criticized, he went on television and proclaimed he only meant to find efficiencies in the program and this wouldn’t cost the city “a penny.” Now, Cuomo says the move isn’t just about efficiencies, but a check on wasteful spending.

A POSSIBLE COMPROMISE — Cuomo wants to find $250 million worth of savings. If the Assembly won’t let that be taken from New York City’s coffers, is it possible that the other 57 counties in the state could be forced to chip in? Rich Azzopardi, the governor’s spokesman, floated such an idea in an email to POLITICO New York: “It is our intent that the final budget language will codify that the state, the city, and our county partners will work together to find $250 million in savings in the fiscal year,” he said.

PLEADING FOR HELP — The Brain Injury Association of New York State has sent a letter to Cuomo asking that he exclude from the state budget a plan to move current fee-for-service programs for those suffering from traumatic brain injuries into Medicaid managed care. The letter, which describes in detail the types of programs that could be negatively affected under the move, takes a personal tack in appealing to Cuomo, mentioning the death of his father, Mario Cuomo, and the breast cancer diagnosis of his girlfriend, Sandra Lee — both of which were cited by Cuomo in his State of the State address earlier this year.

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

STOP SMOKING — Chris Francis had wanted to quit smoking for nearly a decade. He picked up the habit a month before his 18th birthday, promised himself he’d quit by 30, but delayed and then delayed again. At 34 years old, the cost of his pack-a-day habit was wearing on his wallet and the health effects were beginning to take their toll. “It was a big thing for me,” he said.

NOW WE KNOW — Researchers at four universities worked on the enduring question: Does it pay to make a shopping list? The answer, published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, is yeah, don’t trust your memory.

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

BACK IN ACTION — The six demonstrators arrested Monday night after an AIDS protest have all been released and were back in the war room at the Capitol, continuing a 24-hour sit-in pushing for $70 million in the state budget to combat HIV and AIDS.

A WIN FOR NYSNA — The National Labor Relations Board ruled that Nathan Littauer Hospital’s lockout lacked any justification and was done to retaliate against the union nurses who had gone on a one-day strike, according to The Albany Times-Union.

WHAT’S IN THE WATER? — WNYC reports: “The drinking water in more than 1,000 public school buildings in New York City went at least a decade without getting tested for lead, according to a WNYC analysis of city data. Only in the last month, according to officials, has the school system begun a comprehensive program to test those buildings, and those results are just beginning to trickle in.”

BLOOMBERG’S MILLIONS Former mayor Michael Bloomberg and other philanthropists gave $125 million to Johns Hopkins University for a new institute focused solely on the therapy and accelerated breakthroughs for patients, according to The Washington Post.

MONTEFIORE’S STRESS PLAN — Marketplace profiled Montefiore’s program for toxic stress. “Bernice, who lives in New York, remembers housing insecurity, mental illness, drug use, and emotional and physical abuse in her childhood. ‘In elementary school, I asked my stepfather for help on my math homework, and he actually punched me in the eye,’ she said. Bernice, who didn’t want us to use her last name, got pregnant when she was 18. Because she’d suffered childhood trauma and never learned how to cope, her baby was at risk of what experts call ‘toxic stress,’ which is bad for your health.”

MAKING ROUNDS — Celeste Koeleveld, previously an executive assistant corporation counsel with the New York City Law Department, has been appointed general counsel for the state Department of Financial Services, the agency announced Tuesday. In her new role, Koeleveld will be responsible for all legal matters at DFS and will report directly to the superintendent. Prior to serving at the New York City Law Department, she spent about two decades working for the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office.

ALSO MAKING ROUNDS — Theodore Strange, director and co-founder of University Physicians Group, is Northwell Health System's new vice chair of primary care, a role in which he will help develop the system's primary care network in Staten Island, Brooklyn and New Jersey, according to a press release from Northwell. Strange last month integrated his group practice into Northwell Health, bringing Staten Island’s largest group of physicians practicing in internal medicine under Northwell's umbrella.

...Edward Wolin is Montefiore Health System's new director of the Neuroendocrine Tumor Program at Montefiore Einstein Center, according to a press release from the hospital. Wolin, who was the director of the neuroendocrine and GI oncology program and the director of clinical research at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, currently is focusing his research on precision medicine, diagnostics and monitoring tumor response to treatment.

RECOGNIZED — The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo was recognized by the White House for its efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, according to a press release from the university.

ACROSS THE RIVER — Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and University Hospital in Newark on Tuesday announced a new value-based partnership focused on maternity care. Several legislators had criticized Horizon last fall for not including the state-funded University Hospital in Tier 1 of the insurer’s OMNIA health plans. Both the Episodes of Care for Pregnancy and Delivery Program and the OMNIA Health Alliance are value-based payment arrangements between the insurer and providers. The partnership represents a greater industry-wide shift as payment models move from a fee-for-service system that compensates doctors for the number of services performed to a value-based system that ties payment to patient outcomes. Horizon’s partnership with University aims to reduce unnecessary C-sections and associated infections and complications surrounding pregnancy. The organizations will also develop protocols to bring down the number of pre-term births at the hospital, according to a news release.

PHARMA REPORT: “Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s treatment for psychosis associated with Parkinson’s disease moved a step closer to approval after receiving the support of a U.S. regulatory panel,” the Wall Street Journal reports:


-BIG NEWS FROM THE SUPREME COURT — The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday asked for new arguments on the Affordable Care Act’s birth control coverage requirement, suggesting the justices were looking for a compromise and providing hope to both sides that their arguments would win the day, according to POLITICO. The court instructed the parties in Zubik v. Burwell to file new briefs on how employees could get the coverage through their employer-sponsored plans in a way that does not involve the nonprofits. “The rare, post-oral argument order in the already contentious case provided new glimmers of hope to both sides. The challengers believe the order means the court won't uphold the existing accommodation. ‘They wouldn't be asking about alternatives to the accommodation if they [found it acceptable],’ said Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents an order of Catholic nuns, Little Sisters of the Poor, in the case. But government allies are heartened that the court appears strongly concerned with ensuring that employees can seamlessly access contraception through their health plans.”

-NEW ABORTION LAW — Utah’s governor signed a bill that makes his the first state to require doctors to give anesthesia to women having an abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later, according to the New York Times. “The bill signed by Republican Gov. Gary Herbert Monday is based on the disputed premise that a fetus can feel pain at that point. ‘The governor is adamantly pro-life. He believes in not only erring on the side of life, but also minimizing any pain that may be caused to an unborn child,’ Herbert spokesman Jon Cox said.”

-LOOK WHO IS LOBBYING — From POLITICO: Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is officially embracing lobbying after a decade of being a “special policy adviser” and the like. Insurance giant Aetna will be the first official client for Daschle, who has his own consulting shop within the law firm Baker Donelson. Daschle will lobby for Aetna on Obamacare implementation and Medicare and Medicaid rule changes, according to a filing with the Senate secretary. (The filing didn't mention Aetna's pending insurance merger with Humana.)

-OBAMA ON OPIOIDS — POLITICO reports: “President Barack Obama touted his administration's steps to expand mental health care coverage and called for more funding to combat the opioid epidemic during remarks at an anti-addiction forum on Tuesday. Obama urged the public to pressure Congress to support the White House request for $1.1 billion in new opioid spending, mostly to expand medication-assisted treatment.”

-CHIRLANE MCCRAY ON OPIOIDS — Per a press release from her office: “HHS took an important step forward [Tuesday] by announcing a draft rule to increase the patient limit for qualified physicians who prescribe buprenorphine, a life-saving treatment for opioid addiction. Any measure to increase the availability of medication-assisted treatment is welcome. We must continue to expand access until everyone who needs this medication can get it. When used as prescribed, buprenorphine is safe and effective. In addition, because it can be prescribed by a family doctor, those suffering from addiction can access the medication and stick with treatment more easily.”

-OPIOIDS WORKING PAPER — POLITICO convened a working group on the physician role in the crisis -- how to get doctors to recognize they are part of the problem, and what policy steps are required to make them part of the solution. Top government officials from FDA, CDC and NIDA took part, as did the U.S. Surgeon General. Doctors, payers and researchers also joined. The group came up with recommendations involving ongoing medical education, data and technology, changing payer practices that may inadvertently encourage overprescribing and other ways to shift the culture of prescribing. Here's a summary of their best ideas:

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from Montefiore Health System: “If bringing your child to visit someone in hospital, try to keep visits short and bring something for them to do.”


-ZIKA PROGRESS — The first new mouse model in which the Zika virus can be tested was described in a medical journal on Monday, according to The New York Times.

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 3/29, 3/28, 3/25, 3/24, 3/23

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