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POLITICO New York Health Care, presented by PhRMA: Dorms replacing LICH; banning herbal viagra

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 lenglander@politico.com and we'll set you up for trial access.

written by Dan Goldberg

COULD LICH BECOME A COLLEGE DORM? — Fortis Property Group, the developer that bought the beleaguered Long Island College Hospital, shocked neighborhood residents last week when it announced it was considering a 260,000 square-foot student dorm on the site. The proposal, which can be built as of right without local input, could pressure community leaders to negotiate a rezoning that would move development away from the center of the neighborhood.

The rezoning is favored by Fortis and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who campaigned to save LICH while running for mayor in 2013, getting himself arrested while protesting the closing of the hospital. Read my full story here: http://politi.co/1QJS4vt

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

BANNING HERBAL VIAGRA —
Following reports that former Los Angeles Lakers player Lamar Odom ingested multiple herbal sexual enhancement tabs, which may have contributed to his hospitalization, state Sen. Jose Peralta plans to introduce legislation banning the supplement. POLITICO New York’s Josefa Velasquez has the details. http://politi.co/1PpoRZc

NOW WE KNOW — Speaking of enhancements, the Journal of Sexual Medicine has an article explaining the correct way to measure length. “Although some studies suggest good correlation between stretched and erect penile length, those that have measured stretched and erect length simultaneously have shown significant variability.” Therefore, the researchers conclude, “erect penis measurements should be used for men being considered for treatment of small penis anxiety.” http://bit.ly/1MKgCFJ

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.

** A message from PhRMA: In 2013 alone, the biopharmaceutical industry invested more than $553 million dollars in clinical trials in New York. Learn more about the economic impact of clinical trials in our communities at http://bit.ly/1O64IWa **

COUNCIL FUNDING FOR IMMIGRANT HEALTH CARE — The City Council has allocated nearly half a million dollars to help some undocumented immigrants receive legal representation and access to Medicaid. The appropriation of $450,000 is part of a $1.5 million program aimed at reducing health disparities among foreign-born New Yorkers. New York State offers Medicaid to immigrants who are not citizens but also not under threat of deportation, which includes those on a path to citizenship and those who fall under President Obama's deferred action program. But health and immigrant advocates estimate that nearly half of the population eligible for those benefits are unaware they exist. http://politi.co/1PppVwc [PRO]

CLINTON CALLS — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Friday urged Congress to block an increase in Medicare premiums set to take effect in January. The increase is expected to affect those who receive Medicare but not Social Security, and those with incomes higher than $85,000 for individuals or $170,000 for couples. http://politi.co/1Gi1uOo

...Here's why it happened. Most Part B premiums are deducted from Social Security checks. However, the Social Security program includes what is known as a "hold harmless" provision, which essentially says the program's benefits can never decrease. Most years, benefits increase because of a cost of living adjustment, and so Medicare Part B premiums can increase along with the benefit hikes. But in 2016, for just the third time in nearly 40 years, there will be no COLA increase. That means the increase in Medicare premiums can't be paid by the 70 percent of Social Security recipients who will receive no increase in their monthly check.

...Here is a fun thought: There is no COLA increase, in part because energy prices have been so low, which is due, in part, to a glut of oil, due, in part, to a production boom in the United States that has been great for the economies of Texas and North Dakota. That job-boom has partially contributed to seniors receiving no increase in social security and paying more for their health care.

SCHNEIDERMAN’S URGENT PROBLEM — Four urgent care centers in New York City and Long island have agreed to further disclosure of what health insurance plans they accept, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office announced. ”This move, the first enforcement action of New York’s recently adopted ‘Surprise Bill Law,’ will protect consumers from unexpected medical billings and help patients make informed choices when selecting a provider,” Schneiderman’s office said. In July, Schneiderman issued nearly two dozen letters to urgent care centers asking for more information about what health plans they were a part of, concerned that the urgent care centers’ websites may have inaccurately disclosed health plan network participation status.

MARIJUANA RESERVATION — Buffalo Business First reports the Seneca Nation of Indians is considering pursuing its own medical marijuana program on sovereign land. http://bit.ly/1PoX3nU

...I’m not sure that plan is feasible because it would still be illegal to bring that medical marijuana back into New York State, once one is off the reservation.

INSURANCE REPORT: The state's Department of Health announced on Friday which insurers will offer plans on New York State of Health, the insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. There will be 16 insurers offering plans on the individual exchange, eight offering plans for small businesses and 13 offering the Essential Plan, a new option the state hopes will attract New Yorkers who have so far found the cost of insurance out of reach. A map of which insurers are available in which counties can be seen here: http://on.ny.gov/1Ng27I1

-THE STATUS OF EMPLOYER-SPONSORED INSURANCE — Aaron Carroll reviews the latest Kaiser Family Foundation report on employer-sponsored health insurance. Here’s the good news: premiums rose only 4 percent last year. Here is the bad news: wages were up by less than 2 percent. “Inflation is low, but so are increased in wages. Why? Likely because premiums are still rising in cost far faster than inflation, so that any money which might go to wage increases has to go towards more expensive employee (and employer) contributions to premiums. Further, deductibles are going up even faster, so while wages are flat, employees have to spend more and more of their take-home money on health care.” http://bit.ly/1GMh3ZB

PARTNERING — The New York Stem Cell Foundation and Cbr Systems, Inc. DBA Cord Blood Registry, are partnering to create induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell lines from umbilical cord tissue collected from healthy newborns. The tissue will come from CBR, the world’s largest newborn stem cell company, and the stem cell lines will come from the foundation. "Umbilical cord tissue is a largely untapped source of rich cells to be used in medical research and cell therapies," NYSCF CEO and Co-founder Susan Solomon, said in a statement. The Stem Cell Foundation has been touting its new technology, the Global Stem Cell Array, which automates the creation of new lines, establishing new partnerships to put the technology to use. Last month, the New York Stem Cell Foundation announced a partnership with Q-State Biosciences to study nervous system disorders through precision medicine.

PHARMA REPORT — Remember how the stock price of certain pharma companies tanked after Hillary Clinton suggested the country needed to do something about surging prices? And remember how last week Clinton said the she was proud to have the drug companies as her “enemy.” Well, with enemies like these, who needs friends? The Boston Globe reports: “The Clinton campaign received far more money from the drug and medical device industries than any other presidential candidate in either party during the first six months of the campaign. … Among presidential candidates, the other top five recipients of money from the pharmaceutical industry were all Republicans: Ted Cruz took in $96,045, while Marco Rubio accepted $52,430, Jeb Bush got $50,700, and Lindsey Graham received $19,200.” http://bit.ly/1PoWAC5

WHAT WE’RE READING:

-FOLLOW THE MONEY — ProPublica reports: “Medicare’s prescription drug program spent nearly $4.6 billion in the first half of this year on expensive new cures for the liver disease hepatitis C — almost as much as it spent for all of 2014.” http://bit.ly/1PBbogd

-DEATH WATCH — Colorado HealthOP and Health Republic Insurance of Oregon collapsed on Friday, the seventh and eighth co-ops to fail. Both attributed their failures to the unexpectedly low payments from the federal government’s risk corridor program. POLITICO reminds us of the letter that CMS sent out to state insurance commissioners in July. “We anticipate that risk corridors collections will be sufficient to pay for all risk corridors payments," HealthCare.gov CEO Kevin Counihan wrote at the time. The reality now facing insurers is that they'll only initially receive 12.6 percent of anticipated payments. The letter: http://go.cms.gov/1G9HayM

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from Mount Sinai: “Taking too many trips to the bathroom? You should watch out for type 2 diabetes.” http://mshs.co/TsDmM

STUDY THIS:

-COLUMBIA TO STUDY BREAST CANCER — Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia University Medical Center are one of six new sites being launched by the National Institutes of Health’s Breast Cancer and Environment Research Program. The program will focus on prevention and the environmental and genetic factors that may influence breast cancer risk. They will look at the risk factors that precede breast cancer, such as breast density in mothers and their adolescent daughters. http://1.usa.gov/1PppQZm

-GRANT LAND — Weill Cornell Medicine received more than $10 million from the National Institutes of Health to study the effects of substances of abuse on the developing brain, according to a press release. The study will follow approximately 10,000 children beginning at ages 9 to10, before they initiate drug use, through the period of highest risk for substance use and other mental health disorders. http://bit.ly/1Ppqer3

-NEW MATERIAL — Researchers at Cornell University developed a lightweight, stretchable material that has potential for use in prosthetic body parts, artificial organs and soft robotics, according to a paper in Advanced Materials.The foam is unique because it can be formed and has connected pores that allow fluids to be pumped through it, the paper said. http://bit.ly/1Riizs4

-HOW RACIST ARE WE? — Researchers at the University of Arizona found African Americans waited about 32 percent longer than for whites before drivers chose to yield at a crosswalk, and they were twice as likely as whites to be passed by multiple vehicles. It’s a small sample size, but the results are discouraging. http://bit.ly/1GM6BkQ

** A message from PhRMA: Every day in New York, countless people fight life-threatening diseases. Their bravery inspires countless researchers and scientists across the country in their quest to develop medicines that help patients live longer, healthier lives. Here in New York, the biopharmaceutical industry has invested more than $553 million during the 2,476 clinical trials that took place in 2013 alone. Each step brings us closer to a cure. To learn more, please visit http://bit.ly/1O64IWa **

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 10/16, 10/15, 10/14, 10/13, 10/12

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