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POLITICO New York Health Care: Pivoting on reproductive health; Clinton calls for repeal of Cadillac Tax

Dear readers: POLITICO New York Pro subscribers receive this email at 5:30 a.m. each weekday. If you'd like to receive it at that time, 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

PIVOTING ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH — The city's health department will announce Wednesday that it is changing its reproductive health strategy, becoming the first large health department in the nation to take on the reproductive justice framework. Reproductive justice, a term that grew out of the mid-1990s women's rights agenda, is a philosophy that says a woman's right and ability to control her body is impacted by social inequities, including racism.

It argues that government has a responsibility not only to ensure women can decide what to do with their bodies, but also that the conditions are suitable for implementing those decisions.

Health department officials, viewing their goals through that lens, want to broaden the definition of reproductive health, expanding what it talks about and who it talks to. The change in emphasis is part of a broader trend that has seen Mayor Bill de Blasio's health department look at health disparities as part of a racial construct and not just an economic one. Read my full story here:

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LEGIONNAIRES’ UPDATE — Ten people have now contracted Legionnaires’ disease in the east Bronx, and seven cooling towers have tested positive, according to the city’s health department. The news comes even as city officials say all cooling towers were recently cleaned because of the health commissioner’s order following an outbreak in the south Bronx that killed 12 during the summer.

CLINTON’S CADILLAC CONCESSION — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Tuesday called for a repeal of the 40-percent excise tax on high-cost health insurance plans. The move, sure to win favor with labor groups, is Clinton's first major disagreement with President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement. The tax is supported by health economists who believe generous benefit plans encourage people to use the health care system more than they otherwise would, and that drives up the cost for everyone. The tax, they say, is key to slowing the growth of health costs. But the tax is strongly opposed by labor unions, a key Democrat constituent. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is challenging Clinton for the nomination, has proposed repealing the tax as has Senator Chuck Schumer.

TWEET OF THE DAY — “Leadership means taking an unpopular stand when it's the right thing to do. #CadillacTax” - Martin Gaynor, research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a former director of the Bureau of Economics at the Federal Trade Commission.

NOW WE KNOW — An article in the Journal of Sex Research says “gaydar” is not a real thing, just harmful stereotyping. "Most people think of stereotyping as inappropriate," William Cox, an assistant scientist in the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and lead author, said in a press release accompanying the article. "But if you're not calling it 'stereotyping,' if you're giving it this other label and camouflaging it as 'gaydar,' it appears to be more socially and personally acceptable." Cox has proof that stereotyping is wrong and leads to bad conclusions. He says only 5 percent of men are gay so, "imagine that 100 percent of gay men wear pink shirts all the time, and 10 percent of straight men wear pink shirts all the time. Even though all gay men wear pink shirts, there would still be twice as many straight men wearing pink shirts.”

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K2 VIDEO — Take six minutes and watch this Daily News video about what K2 is doing in East Harlem. Riveting and sad.

CUOMO SIGNS OPIOID LAW — Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday signed a bill that allows addicts to enter judicial diversion programs while still using medication-assisted treatment, like methadone or Suboxone. POLITICO New York’s Josefa Velasquez has more: [PRO]

CHILDPROOF — Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, along with the attorneys general of Illinois and Indiana, are leading an effort to urge the federal Food and Drug Administration to require child resistant packaging for liquid nicotine and similar products. In the Capital Region, the issue surrounding child-resistant packaging of liquid nicotine used in electronic cigarettes came to a head when a Fort Plain toddler died last December after ingesting the liquid tobacco.

Later that month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that prohibited the sale of liquid nicotine to minors and required childproof containers to protect against accidental ingestion. Read Schneiderman’s letter to the FDA:

GRANT LAND — Twenty institutions around the state have been awarded a combined $3 million for prostate cancer research, Cuomo announced Tuesday.

…The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will receive $211,385 to conduct a two-component project to provide a holistic assessment of how expanded paid leave policies would impact both public and private sector workers in New York City.

MAKING ROUNDS — James Knickman, founding president and CEO of the New York State Health Foundation, has announced his resignation and plans to leave during the first half of 2016. Knickman founded NYSHealth in May 2006 has accepted an academic job at New York University. No successor has been named. Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group has been retained to assist the nonprofit's Board of Directors in the search, according to a press release from the foundation.

HAPPENING TODAY — Councilman Dan Garodnick will introduce a bill to ban the sale of personal care products containing microbeads. Microbeads are tiny plastic particles, about the size of a grain of sand, that are found in many cosmetics and personal care products. Environmentalists say the microbes pass through water treatment plants and harm fish and other wildlife when they reach waterways.

HAPPENING NEXT WEEK — The Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society is hosting a panel on October 6, which will discuss “how to proactively create content and harness the power of social media to define an online reputation for physicians and provide better care for patients.” More and more patients are looking first to sites like Yelp before choosing a doctor so this panel is geared toward health care marketers.

CALLING ON CONGRESS — U.S. Senator Robert Menendez took to the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon to call for reauthorization of a bill that provides benefits to 9/11 victims and first responders.


MISSING MONEY — Medicare paid $30 million for ambulance rides for which no record exists that patients got medical care at their destination, according to the Associated Press. Federal investigators tried really hard to figure out where the money went but to no avail.

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from the state health department, which reminds us that “making sure you are aware of local weather conditions can help save lives. Sign up for text message alerts today.”


-CELIAC — Children with frequent infections during their first 18 months have an increased risk of developing Celiac disease, according to an article in the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. The study found that children with 10 or more infections during their first 18 months had an approximately 30 percent increased relative risk of subsequent celiac disease. Infections can affect the immune system, increasing the risk of Celiac.

-AS BAD AS IT GETS — Researchers writing for BMJ set out to document how people have died in Syria during the nation’s civil war. Their findings are gruesome. Compared with men, children were nearly three times more likely to die as a result of shelling, and women were twice as likely, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Air bombardments were even worse for women and children. Compared with men, the risk of being killed in an air bombardment was slightly more than three times higher for children and slightly more than two times higher for women.”

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